Laura Abondano

Laura Abondano profile picture

Visiting Assistant Professor

… is a Colombian primatologist and conservationist, researchingand advocating for the protection of tropical biodiversity in South America. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and after working for a few years following spider monkeys, she pursued her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biological anthropology at University of Texas at Austin. Laura currently studies woolly monkeys in Amazonian Ecuador using a combination of field- and laboratory-based methods, such as behavioral observations paired with endocrine and genetic analyses, to understand the underlying factors that influence their reproductive strategies and environmental adaptations. During her time at UT-Austin, she also worked in assessing genetic relatedness of Verreaux’s sifaka in Madagascar. More recently, Laura has been collaborating with Peruvian conservationists in a project that seeks to describe diversity, distribution and habitat use of the mammal community in a montane forest in Cusco. Parallel to her research, Laura works in outreach and education programs aimed at narrowing the gap between scientists and the general public by communicating science in more accessible ways. She has developed bilingual STEM programs for K-12 students in Austin, and projects that engage local communities in Colombia and Perú with scientific and conservation efforts to protect biodiversity in the region. In her free time, Laura enjoys being outdoors with her family, biking around Hueston Woods, and putting to practice the techniques she learned recently on a tree climbing course!