Dr. Bastian began her work with orangutans in 2003 as a PI and Field Site Director & Researcher at Duke University. During this time, she conducted extensive fieldwork at two wild orangutan research sites within Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia. The research focused on the geographically variable innovative behavior and feeding ecology in the wild populations of Pongo pygmaeus. She also set up, directed, and managed the Sungai Lading Orangutan Project for 2.5 years. Bastian received her Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy with a minor in Biology from Duke University where she completed her dissertation on the “Effect of riverine dispersal barrier on cultural similarity in wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wormbii).” Dr. Bastian has been the Curator of Primates at Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute since 2014 and is now transitioning to a new position, as Recruiting Editor at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). At the Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, she acted as the direct supervisor of the Primate Unit, along with heading the research within the unit. She was in charge of overseeing the collection of apes, Old World Monkeys and lemurs and also held responsibility for the Great Ape House, Think Tank, Gibbon Ridge, Lemur Island, and the O-line which is an arboreal cable system that allows orangutans to travel between the Great Ape House and Think Tank.  Learn More>>