Kramer New Director of the Beckman Institute

The Beckman Institute welcomes one of its original faculty members, Art Kramer, as its new Director. Kramer’s selection as Director of the Beckman Institute was announced by University of Illinois officials May 13. Kramer, an internationally-known psychology and neuroscience researcher who has served in many capacities at Beckman and across campus, will begin his duties June 1. 

The Beckman Institute welcomes one of its original faculty members, Art Kramer, as its new Director.

Kramer’s selection as Director of the Beckman Institute was announced by University of Illinois officials May 13. Kramer, an internationally-known psychology and neuroscience researcher who has served in many capacities at Beckman and across campus, will begin his duties June 1. 

Kramer, who was one of 20 University of Illinois faculty members who earned appointments at Beckman when it officially opened in 1989, will become the fourth Director of the Institute. Pending approval of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, Kramer will succeed Tamer Başar, who has served for the past 20 months as interim Director. Kramer follows in the footsteps of Beckman’s three previous directors: Pierre Wiltzius, Jiri Jonas, and Founding Director Ted Brown.  

The selection of Kramer was announced in an e-mail message from Ravi Iyer, Vice Chancellor for Research (Interim), and Richard Wheeler, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (Interim), at the University of Illinois. They praised Kramer’s abilities and vision. “We are confident that Art will continue to make outstanding scholarly contributions to our campus while he serves in this pivotal leadership role. We are enthusiastic about Art’s vision for expanding Beckman Institute programs in the years to come, and we look forward to working with him to increase the Beckman Institute’s national and international visibility as a leading research center.”

Iyer and Wheeler also thanked Başar for his dedication during the transition period. “We would like to express sincere thanks to Professor Tamer Başar for his leadership during a critical period of transition, which saw a celebration of Beckman’s 20 years of interdisciplinary research on the Illinois campus, numerous successful multidisciplinary research proposals, and a strategic retreat to chart Beckman’s future course.”

Kramer is a leading researcher in areas such as cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, the aging mind, brain plasticity, and human factors. His pioneering research into topics such as driver and pedestrian distraction, and the effects of cognitive and fitness training on human performance and brain function, have received international recognition by peers and press alike.

Kramer’s expertise and his research have been featured in media like the CBS Evening News, Washington Post, and the New York Times, while the United States Senate called on him for expert testimony in hearings on Alzheimer’s disease. Kramer’s laboratory at Beckman, the Lifelong Brain and Cognition Lab, studies the relationship between the brain and the mind. A major focus of his lab’s recent research is the understanding and enhancement of cognitive and neural plasticity across the lifespan. 

Kramer’s resumé as an administrator and faculty member is just as impressive as his research credentials. He currently serves as Co-chair of the Beckman Institute’s Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction research theme, Director of Beckman’s Biomedical Imaging Center, and as leader of the Human Perception and Performance group at Beckman. Kramer is a Swanlund Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive/Experimental Psychology from the University of Illinois in 1984.

In addition, Kramer served as an Associate Editor of Perception and Psychophysics and is currently a member of seven editorial boards. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, a member of the executive committee of the International Society of Attention and Performance, and a recent recipient of an NIH Ten Year MERIT Award.

To read the campus announcement, click here.