So, my 6 year-old daughter asked me about sex (a scientist responds)

Scared FatherM – Daddy, what’s six?

D – Um, a number??

M – No daddy, not that six, the other six….sex?

D – [life flashing before eyes] [deep breath] [resist urge to run]

D – Ok where did you hear that word.

M – Well, some kids were talking about it at school.

D – Who told you?

M – A girl at school.

D – What did she say about it??

M – Well, she said it was gross.

D – [Deep sigh of relief that that is as deep as her understanding goes]

M – So, what is sex?

D – First of all, let me assure that the people who were talking about it as school have NO idea what it actually is. Second, I’m glad you felt comfortable in coming to me with this. Sex at its core, or what it should be is a strong relationship between two people. Like between your mom and I. Beyond that, I don’t know if you have the understanding to get everything, and that’s ok, you are six. How about this, what is the dervitive of x squared times the integral of 42? [at least that’s what I kinda said, I was just spouting random math terms]

M – [wide eyed] I have no idea.

D – That’s because you don’t have the tools to know. You do addition first, then subtraction, then multiplication, then division, then algeb….

M – How do you do division?

D – That’s not really the point, the point is you need the tools to answer or understand advanced concepts and sex is one of those advanced concepts. I have a question for you, where do babies come from.

M – Well, they grow in mommy’s tummy.

D – Then what?

M – They come out.

D – Were do they come out?

M – Your privates.

D – What’s the name for it?

M – A vagina.

[sidebar, she was present at her sister’s birth (I caught her!!) so she was very aware at the age of three what was going on and we told her the truth then, it stuck. Then she sung happy birthday to her sister after coming out, but I digress]

D – Do you tell everyone at school where babies come from?

M – No.

D – Why not?

M – Because it isn’t appropriate.

D – Right because might not be at the level of understanding yet to know what you are talking about. So lets talk about sex again in the future, and when you are ready, I will answer all the questions that I can.

M – Ok, Daddy

D – [Continues doing hair so I can get her off to school]

[Later that night]

M – Mommy, Mommy!! Daddy told me about sex this morning!!




One year Science Sound Bites Podcast Anniversary = Bonus Episode!!

Today marks one year since the first episode of Science Sound Bites was recorded with Dr. Zachary Faber, the person who planted the seed for this podcast in the first place. The mission was to bring first-hand accounts of research into classrooms to help supplement middle school and high school STEM curriculum. The podcast has grown a lot since then. More than just students and teachers are listening to the podcast (thanks Mom, lol). What started as a joke in the beginning, led to interviewing the Head Honcho of the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, I have talked to postdoctoral fellows, MDs, Professors, and the Director of my home institution of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital about topics including cancer, math in biology, infections, obesity, and hearing loss.

podcast logo-page-001 (1)In total, there have been 13 episodes, including the one being released today entitled “Don’t Eat Me Bro!” In this episode, Dr. Ngumbi and I talk about beneficial microbes and how they can prevent the need for pesticide use. I don’t think I have talked to a person who loves science as much as she does

Please find the new episode at under the resources tab, or for the direct link go to Also, Like the Facebook page at and share this email and the webpages with family, friends, and teachers that might enjoy hearing about some cool science.

Coming up for our October episode, I talk to someone at my alma mater, Duke University (GO BLUE DEVILS!!!) as we discuss “Preventing a Total Eclipse of the Heart.” (Your kids might not get that but I hope you do!).

Special thanks to all those who have shared their research, Zach for the idea, St. Jude staff for the support, especially Kate who runs the cure4kids website and post the episodes online, and you for listening.



One of the Greatest and Life Saving Feats of Mankind

One of the times I have been most proud as a parent is when my then 5 year old daughter walked into the the doctor’s office and ASKED for a shot. She knew they would protect her. After getting her shot, she smiled and said thank you. The nurse was floored. My daughter has not seen the horribleness in pictures of people with diseases, but Sid the Science Kid helped. Younger sister seeing her older sisters confidence and calmness in getting a shot offered her arm as well. That…didn’t go as well though 🙂


I just got back from the NIH and heard from great leaders in the field of human health on the progress we are making in EVERYTHING.

In light of recent events, I shared this on my Facebook page. I thought I would share it here as well so I could add links.

Politics aside here, listen up folks. I got my PhD in biochemistry and biophysics. I went from there to work in infectious diseases as a postdoctoral fellow. I now work in an immunology lab also as a postdoctoral fellow. At what point will a fact matter more than what you heard second hand. I have looked at the research with a critical eye. Let me be abundantly clear about the following points,

Vaccines save lives 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Vaccines do not cause autism 1, 2, 3, 4

Vaccine schedules have undergone the highest scrutiny to protect your child and global health 1

Vaccines are a LUXURY and people travel great distances to get them 1

If you think millions of scientist around the world are guilty of some giant conspiracy to cover up vaccines, then you include this God fearing man among them. Go google pictures of measles. Go take a good hard look at the factual alternatives. That can still happen if you prefer, as for me and my house, we will vaccinate.


Picture was from Piled Higher and Deeper

An Interview with the CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, so who better to interview than the CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Dr. James Downing. St. Jude is a well known leader in the field of cancer but did you know that the first person ever cured of sickle cell was done at St. Jude via stem cell/bone marrow transplant. Come take a listen and see what’s on the horizon at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and how they are working toward the next cures.

Also, Science Sound Bites Podcast turns one this month. On the actual date, I will release a bonus episode of a brilliant soil biologist so stay tuned! Until then follow the podcast on facebook at and please share this resource!! If you are interested in getting the emails, please sign up here or subscribe to the blog.