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Past Events


Live Webinar Event: Thursday March 10th, 2022 from 4:00-4:30pm.

The UCSD Autism Center of Excellence is collaborating with the Autism Society of San Diego in a live webinar!

Learn about the newest autism research studies at UCSD from Dr. Karen Pierce, Co-Director and Professor of Neurosciences. Dr. Pierce will describe opportunities to receive genetic and clinical testing at no cost. Also joining us is Shirley Fett from the Autism Society! Shirley is a family nurse practitioner, a pediatric mental health specialist, and a mother of two adult ASD sons. She will be covering sleep disturbances in autism and strategies that may help.

webinar flyer



Summer Snow Cone Social!

We invite the autism community to our Snow Cone Social, held Saturday, August 28th from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Autism Center of Excellence.

Families are invited to be a part of the SPARK study. At the event, families will provide a small saliva sample from individual with ASD and both parents. Our staff can help families register, collect samples, and provide childcare at the event.

Afterwards families can enjoy a day filled with fun games, activities, prizes, and a free snow cone or Dole Whip! We are just blocks away from the beach so we encourage families to make a day out of it!

Summer Snow Cone Social flyer


NFAR 2021: 2021 Race for Autism SUPERHERO Challenge!

Welcome to this years NFAR 2021 event from April 1st- April 10th! We are so excited to show Voices of Opportunity by Dr. Karen Pierce, Co-Director of the Autism Center of Excellence. During the video, Dr. Pierce shares the latest autism research opportunities from our Center!

NFAR Virtual Resource Fair: April 16th - April 30th

The UCSD Autism Center of Excellence is a proud member of SPARK's national clinical site network. SPARK stands for 'Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research,' and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.

Our aim is to collect DNA through saliva collection and information through surveys from 50,000 people with autism and both of their parents nationwide. Data collected by the project will be de-identified and shared with qualified researchers who together will make breakthroughs that were never before possible.

To date over 2,000 families that have a child with autism in San Diego have joined. For more information on how to join SPARK reach out to your local clinical site at UCSD. The best way to reach us is via phone at 858-761-4734 or via email at


Live Webinar Event: Thursday Sept. 24, 2020 at 12-12:30pm

Dr. Karen Pierce, Professor of Neurosciences and Co-Director of the UCSD ACE, will be hosting a webinar on Thursday Sept. 24th at 12:00 to help generate excitement and engagement in the nation's largest genetic study of autism - "SPARK".

During the 30-minute webinar, Dr. Pierce will review the step-by-step process to sign up for SPARK, benefits (e.g., $50 gift card for families, free genetic counseling if a gene mutation is found), as well as a brief summary of the new genes that have been associated with autism.

To learn more, sign up for the webinar! Over 35,000 families nationwide have already signed up for SPARK, so join this important movement by signing up today!


2019 Believe Benefit Concert: Musicians for Autism

Beleive Benefit Concert 2019

Come see exceptionally talented San Diego musicians perform in the 2019 Believe Benefit Concert, "Musicians for Autism," in support of the UC San Diego Autism Center for Excellence (ACE). Proceeds and donations from the concert will support the Center as we continue our efforts as an international leader in research, clinical discoveries, advancements to help children with autism achieve their full potential.

The Musicians for Autism concert will be on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 10 a.m. at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center on 7600 Fay Avenue in La Jolla.

The concert will showcase musicians who have won local, national and international awards and recognition. One young violinist will be performing at Carnegie Hall next year. The works of Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Paganini, Saint Saens and many others will be performed. Performances will include chamber group and solo performances by several musicians from the San Diego Youth Symphony:

Archimedes Li, Ovation, 1st violin Assistant Principal
Ivan Li, Ovation, 1st violin
Elliott Park, Ovation, 1st violin
Lea Parseghian, Ovation, 2nd violin Assistant Principal
Dasha Zerboni, Ovation, 2nd violin
Darren Jiang, Ovation cello, Assistant Principal
Ellie Lee, Sinfonia, 1st violin Concertmaster
Caden Jiang, 1st violin, Assistant Principal

The public is welcome! Make reservations and donations at:

Please feel free to contact us with any questions!

Phone: 858-534-6906

SPARK National Meeting, June 2019

SPARK 2019


Dr. Courchesne's Birthday Luncheon, April 2019

Eric Courchesne and ACE looking at birthday cake ACE Team at Caronline's celebrating Eric Courchesne's birthday ACE group photo

NFAR Race For Autism, April 2019

ACE Coordinators at NFAR NFAR event in April 2019, image of superhero and UCSD ACE ball


Parent Appreciation Day, October 2018

Parent Appreciation Day 2018, Dr. Courchesne presenting Parent Appreciation Day 2018, Dr. Courchesne presenting Parent Appreciation Day 2018, Dr. Pierce presenting ACE Team at event ACE Day performers 2018 ACE Day Performers

'Believe' Fundraising Concert, June 2018

UCSD ACE receives check from Believe Fundraising Concert2018 June Believe Fundraising Concert, Alvin and Caitlin Wang

SPARK Day, April 2018


UCSD Public Health Day, April 2018

Christie Pham at Public Health Day April 2018, standing in front of poster Christie Pham at UCSD Public Health Day, April 2018

Christie Pham presenting on "Differences in Developmental Screening across Ethnic and Racial Groups"

Emily Yuen at UCSD Public Health Day, April 2018 Emily Yuen at UCSD Public Health Day, April 2018

Emily Yuen presenting on "Factors Influencing Pediatrician Referral Rates for Developmental Evaluations"


ACE Team in 2001

ACE Team circa 2011

2011 Karen Pierce and Eric Courchesne celebrate birthdayDrs. Pierce and Eyler looking at computer screen
2014 NFAR ACE team with dogDr. Spendlove
ACE Team at NFAR event2007 ACE Team Potluck