I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My father is an emeritus professor of anatomy at the University of Michigan . My mother taught GED and is now retired. As a teenager I was active in Boy Scouts and am an eagle scout. I lettered in water polo and swimming. I also played the cello in the school orchestra.

I went to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah for my B.S. and M.S. I took two years off from college to serve a mission for my church in Belgium and consequently speak fluent Dutch. While at BYU I met my wife Mary. After BYU we moved to Evanston, Illinois just outside of Chicago to start work on my Ph.D. at Northwestern University .

After my Ph.D. I accepted a post doc at the University of Maryland. In October of 2004, shortly after moving to the DC area, Mary and I were blessed with our first daughter. Katherine was born about 6 weeks premature, but is now a healthy normal child.

In the summer of 2007 I accepted a position at Brigham Young University. In April, just before moving to Utah, we were blessed with a son, Andrew. He is growing fast! September of 2008 we welcomed baby number 3 to our family. Aaron is healthy and strong and keeps us busy. In June 2011 our fourth child Adam was born.