Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a great example of how to use science as a superpower to create positive change. 

Proud LSA and U-M alumna Dr. Mona followed her interest in science to Camp Davis and the U-M Biological Station. On campus, she scratched her itch to promote social justice by co-founding the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning. After graduation, she used science as a pediatrician and researcher to show that the lead levels in Flint’s drinking water were so high that she could point to an increase in blood lead levels in local children.

And Dr. Mona won’t stop. She recently wrote and toured with a book about her life and experience blowing the whistle on the Flint water crisis, called What the Eyes Don’t See. She will continue working hard to make sure that kids in Flint get what they need to stay healthy.

Listen to hear the full story:



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Highlights from This Episode


  • 3:14 – “This is a city that is literally in the middle of the Great Lakes, the largest source of freshwater in the world.”
  • 5:53 – “From the moment that I heard there was lead in the water, I knew that I needed to use science to figure out what was going on with our children.”
  • 7:00 – “And from the moment we declared this science public, the state attacked me, attacked the science, attacked the credibility of the research.”
  • 9:34 – “Science is not meant to live in journals and ivory towers and to be used for publications and promotion and tenure. Science is meant to benefit the public good.
  • 11:28 – “There was no other option than to move forward.”



Scientist Bios

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (SEAS 1998, M.S. SPH 2008) is the Flint pediatrician who brought attention and acknowledgement to the Flint water crisis. As an LSA undergraduate, she spent time at the U-M Biological Station and at Camp Davis. She continues to practice medicine and teach in Michigan. She recently published a book called What the Eyes Don’t See.

How to Science host Monica Dus is a professor in LSA’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) who studies how the brain responds to the presence and absence of sugar. She wants to figure out how neurons sense and respond to the nutrients eaten as food. Her research relates to feeding behavior, energy balance, physiology, and obesity. She loves her three dogs, whose names are Cupcake, Sprinkles, and Brioche.

Learn more about Monica Dus’s research.



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Podcast produced by Elizabeth Wason, Monica Dus, and Matthew J. Adams
Illustrations by Julia Lubas
Photos by Elizabeth DeCamp
Podcast theme music by Podington Bear