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From Punk Rocker to Ph.D.

Rolling Stone reports that Dexter Holland of the punk rock group the Offspring has finished his Ph.D. in molecular biology after putting his studies on hold while attaining rock-and-roll royalty. 

On Thursday, Holland graduated from the University of Southern California after finishing his doctoral thesis, titled "Discovery of Mature MicroRNA Sequences Within the Protein-Coding Regions of Global HIV-1 Genomes: Predictions of Novel Mechanisms for Viral Infection and Pathogenicity."

Holland started his Ph.D. program years ago, but was sidetracked from his studies as the Offspring found fame. Its 1994 album, "Smash" became the best-selling independent record of all time, according to Rolling Stone.

Holland told the publication that when he decided to delay his Ph.D. program, neither his mom nor his professor were supportive of his choice, but he and his bandmates sensed Euterpe, the classical Greek muse of music, beckoning them onward. "And we had to see it through."

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Holland said "I am interested in virology and wanted to contribute in some small way to the knowledge which has been learned about HIV and AIDS."

He added that he's under no illusions that his 175-page dissertation will lead to a cure for HIV/AIDS, but "I believe that by adding to the vast amount of information that we've learned about HIV in the past 30 years or so, we'll get there. Toward that end, I'm going to continue to do research, and you'll probably see some of my research papers get published here and there over the next few years."

Rock on, dude!