"I’m trying to slash the tires of AIDS."By Chip

Offspring’s Dexter Holland isn’t just the frontman for a band with a biologically-centric name. He’s also an avid scholar with both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biology.

Although he deferred his doctorate studies at USC on the same subject because Offspring was doing so well, the musician is taking baby steps towards writing his dissertation. He said he’s a year or two from getting his doctorate.

Recently, Holland tweeted his first paper in the process, a highly-scientific piece titled confusingly for laymen, “Identification of Human MicroRNA-Like Sequences Embedded within the Protein-Encoding Genes of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Needing clarification, Bean talked to the frontman/scientist on the phone and the hyper-intellectual Holland first explained the paper as a scholar and then in automobile terms so that Bean could better understand.

Basically, Holland and other graduate students are involved in HIV research and are focusing on small molecules that scientists have only discovered in the last ten years called Micro RNAs. “It looks like the viruses [HIV/cancer] might actually be mimicking human RNAs as a way to evade the immune response of people.”

These molecules are “involved in diseases such as AIDS or cancer,” and while Holland’s research is in the “petri dish stages” it looks “promising.”

“Imagine a virus is like a car,” said Holland, breaking it down even further. “You want to break the car before you get run over. And there’s a lot of ways you can break a car. You can disconnect the battery; you can slash the tires. So, what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to slash the tires of AIDS.”

That’s pretty intense stuff, but Holland reiterates that there’s “definitely promise” in the research.

And what does the rest of Offspring think of Holland’s academic endeavors?

“They think I’m a nerd. They walk away.”

— Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles

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