Guess the Character (15)

Guess the Character (15)

Author: Catharina Goedecke

The character we are looking for studies fungi. In a fictional universe that has become a multimedia franchise, this scientist from a Southeast Asian country was one of the first to realize that an outbreak of a parasitic fungal pathogen had begun [1].

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Dr. Ratna Pertiwi is a fictional scientist in the HBO series “The Last of Us”, a postapocalyptic drama created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann that is based on a 2013 videogame developed by Naughty Dog with the same name [2].

In the series, a mutant, parasitic Cordyceps fungus infects humans and transforms them into aggressive hosts that attack, bite, and kill other humans, leading to a breakdown of civilization as it was known before the outbreak.

At the start of this pandemic, Dr. Pertiwi is a Professor of Mycology at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. She is picked up by military personnel to lend her expertise in the mysterious death of a women who has worked at a flour mill, gone into a rage, and bit several coworkers. Dr. Pertiwi quickly figures out that an infection with the Cordyceps fungus must have been responsible and that the flour had served as a substrate for the fungus. When she learns that there are more potentially infected workers and they are missing, she realizes that due to the lack of a cure, the outbreak will be near impossible to contain and recommends wiping out the entire city as the only option.


[1] The Last of Us Wiki, Ratna Pertiwi, (accessed April 3, 2023)

[2] The Last of Us (TV Series), (accessed April 3, 2023)



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