In a newly published book aimed at demystifying genetics, South African based Dr Nonhlanhla Khumalo speaks directly to teenagers in "Genes for Teens".
The book uses jeans as an introduction to a light-hearted discussion of genes and their 'teen relevant effects' including sex, pregnancy, skin (acne, smelly underarms etc); it also discusses the biology of skin colour, its evolution and the meaning of 'race.'
Trained in SA and the UK, this medical doctor, scientist and mother of two teenagers has the right credentials.
According to Dr Khumalo, the book considers "issues teenagers may wonder about; and at the same time encourages them to make thoughtful decisions about their lives - especially in view of the ever present threat of HIV/AIDS."
With a PhD in Public Health under her belt she has both a professional and personal interest in diseases such as HIV/AIDS. "I have never had any aspirations to write a book; however, an experience I had a few years ago changed my life. Although I have looked after dermatology patients with HIV, the impact of this disease hit me when one of my young cousins died of AIDS; I felt compelled to do something! And so I decided to share my love of biology with teenagers in their language.
Dr Khumalo's research interest is in dermatology and studying processes underlying hair loss. She consults at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and is founding editor of the South African Journal of Child Health. This is her first book specifically aimed at bringing the wonders of science to a young audience.