Adi Utarini

Adi Utarini is an Indonesian public health researcher who works on disease control of dengue fever. She serves as Professor of Public Health in the Department of Health and Policy Management at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. In 2020, she was selected as one of Nature's 10 for pioneering the randomized controlled trial of a dengue prevention technique using mosquitoes carrying the Wolbachia bacteria.

Adi Utarini
Adi Utarini VOA (cropped).jpg
Utarini in August 2020
Born (1965-06-04) 4 June 1965 (age 55)
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Alma materUmeå University
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
Gadjah Mada University
Known forrandomized controlled trial of the Wolbachia technique for dengue control
AwardsNature's 10 (2020)
Scientific career
InstitutionsGadjah Mada University
ThesisEvaluation of the user-provider interface in malaria control programme: the case of Jepara district, Central Java province, Indonesia (2002)

Early life and educationEdit

Utarini was born in Yogyakarta on 4 June 1965. She studied medicine at the Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.[1][2] After graduating in 1989[2] she completed two master's degrees, one at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom (1994) and one at Umeå University, Sweden (1997).[3] She remained at Umeå for her doctoral research, where she focused on a malaria control programme in Central Java.[4] She completed her doctorate in 2002.[5]

Research and careerEdit

Utarini focuses on disease control and healthcare quality at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.[3] She served as Project Leader for the Eliminate Dengue Project in the city.[2][6] Yogyakarta is a densely populated city of almost 400,000 people with high transmission rates of dengue fever.[7] In 2018, she delivered a TEDx talk on attempts to reduce dengue outbreaks in the city.[8]

Utarini co-led a randomized controlled trial of the technique employing Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in reducing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the dengue fever, starting from 2016 in Yogyakarta.[7][9] In August 2020 she announced that the method reduced the incidence of dengue fever by 77% during the trial.[7][10] The Wolbachia bacterium prevents mosquitoes from passing viruses to humans.[7] While the method had been developed since the 1990s at the Monash University, Australia, the trial was "the strongest evidence yet" to support its impact, and the first randomized control trial of this approach.[11] In the trial, the city of Yogyakarta was divided into 24 clusters—12 randomly selected to receive the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes and the rest to serve as control. As of December 2020, the full data had not been published, but the data was unblinded in June 2020 and a preliminary result was released in August, which showed the 77% reduction in the areas where the Wolbachia-modified mosquitoes were released compared to the control area.[7] Epidemiologists praised the result as "staggering" and "epochal", and an important step in the fight against dengue, which causes about 400 million infections and 25,000 deaths annually, as well as possibly other mosquito-carried diseases.[7][11]

Utarini was recruited to the effort in 2013, becoming the Indonesia lead scientist of the project. In addition to coordinating the trial, she played an important role in securing the regulatory approval from multiple government ministries.[11] Throughout the trial, Utarini had to gain the support of the local community, which she achieved through wall paintings, short films and face-to-face meetings; the eagerness of the community to participate was one of the successful aspects of the trial.[7]

Between 2015 and 2017 she served in the Research Council of the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology. In 2020 Utarini was selected as one of Nature's 10 for pioneering the Wolbachia mosquito trials.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Utarini is known affectionately as "Prof Uut", and is described by colleagues as quiet but persuasive. Her hobbies include cycling and playing the piano.[11] Utarini was married to Iwan Driprahasto, a professor of pharmacology, also at Gadjah Mada. He died of coronavirus disease in March 2020.[7][12]

Select publicationsEdit

  • Wardhani, Viera; Utarini, Adi; van Dijk, Jitse Pieter; Post, Doeke; Groothoff, Johan Willem (1 March 2009). "Determinants of quality management systems implementation in hospitals". Health Policy. 89 (3): 239–251. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2008.06.008. ISSN 0168-8510.
  • Claramita, Mora; Utarini, Adi; Soebono, Hardyanto; Van Dalen, Jan; Van der Vleuten, Cees (1 March 2011). "Doctor–patient communication in a Southeast Asian setting: the conflict between ideal and reality". Advances in Health Sciences Education. 16 (1): 69–80. doi:10.1007/s10459-010-9242-7. ISSN 1573-1677. PMC 3074074. PMID 20658353.
  • Tantowijoyo, Warsito; Andari, Bekti; Arguni, Eggi; Budiwati, Nida; Nurhayati, Indah; Fitriana, Iva; Ernesia, Inggrid; Daniwijaya, Edwin W.; Supriyati, Endah; Yusdiana, Dedik H.; Victorius, Munasdi (17 April 2020). "Stable establishment of wMel Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti populations in Yogyakarta, Indonesia". PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 14 (4): e0008157. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0008157. ISSN 1935-2735. PMC 7190183. PMID 32302295.

Alongside scientific publications, Utarini has written for The Conversation.[13]



  1. ^ a b "Profil Adi Utarini". Tirto.
  2. ^ a b c "Prof. dr. Adi Utarini, M.Sc, MPH, Ph.D – Health Policy and Management UGM". Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Dr Adi Utarini". Australia-Indonesia Centre. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  4. ^ Utarini, Adi (2002). Evaluation of the user-provider interface in malaria control programme: the case of Jepara district, Central Java province, Indonesia (Thesis). Umeå: Univ.
  5. ^ Adi Utarini. OCLC 4780019278.
  6. ^ Foundation, Thomson Reuters. "Adi Utarini, Indonesia's project leader at the Eliminate Dengue Program, poses behind netting inside a room where mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia bacteria are stored and fed in Yogyakarta". Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Callaway, Ewen (27 August 2020). "The mosquito strategy that could eliminate dengue". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-02492-1.
  8. ^ Utarini, Adi, Sacred Bucket, retrieved 19 December 2020
  9. ^ Anders, Katherine L.; Indriani, Citra; Ahmad, Riris Andono; Tantowijoyo, Warsito; Arguni, Eggi; Andari, Bekti; Jewell, Nicholas P.; Dufault, Suzanne M.; Ryan, Peter A.; Tanamas, Stephanie K.; Rancès, Edwige (25 May 2020). "Update to the AWED (Applying Wolbachia to Eliminate Dengue) trial study protocol: a cluster randomised controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia". Trials. 21. doi:10.1186/s13063-020-04367-2. ISSN 1745-6215. PMC 7249400. PMID 32450914.
  10. ^ "World Mosquito Program's Wolbachia method dramatically reduces dengue incidence in Indonesia". LSHTM. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Nature's 10: ten people who helped shape science in 2020". Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Nakes Gugur: Terus Bertambah, Bukan Sekadar Angka". VOA News (in Indonesian). 6 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Adi Utarini". The Conversation. Retrieved 19 December 2020.