Yani began her professional career as a lecturer at the Department of Biology, University of Indonesia, where she helped developing the first lab for molecular systematic and conservation. She received a series of intensive training on conservation genetics from the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University, New York, and among the first batch of scientist to participate in an advance course of conservation genetics at the Smithsonian Institute. Through these trainings, she brings the knowledge, skill and expertise of the new emerging science which merges molecular technology and wildlife conservation into her academic life, and later on into her conservation works. She joined the Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia in 2003, primarily because this organization has a strong tradition of crafting science-based solution into conservation issues. Two years after she came on board, Yani was asked to lead the organization as its country director. Under her leadership WCS Indonesia continues to play its strategic roles of providing scientifically sound recommendations to policy development, particularly in relation to the protection of endangered species.
Yani got her Master of Science degree from Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1990. Her doctoral project on the conservation genetics of two Indonesian endangered primates was completed in 2000 at the University of Indonesia. She continues teaching her favorite subjects of evolutionary biology and biogeography at her almamater, while actively pursuing her passion for nature and wildlife conservation.