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How to Participate


Find out how you can help advance the knowledge and treatment of autism while learning more about your child's development.

Enroll in a study

Join our team

Undergraduate volunteers, Graduate students, Postdoctoral researchers — join us in our work to uncover the mysteries of autism.

How to apply


Work with our research scientists, identify babies who might be autistic and refer parents to our center — help discover a bio-behavioral signature of autism.

Get in touch


Sparking a Change at ACE

SPARK is the largest autism research project in US history, and the mission is simple: speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.

Over 6,000 participants, including individuals diagnosed with ASD and their family members, have signed up for SPARK through UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence (ACE).


News & Announcements

Dr. Eric Courchesne in a blue t-shirt standing with hand in pocket

Spectrum News profile on Eric Courchesne: Reaching for the Rings in Autism Research

Nature Communications logo

Nature: Large-scale Targeted Sequencing Identified Risk Genes For Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Dr. Pierce with two kids

Researcher Spotlight on Dr. Karen Pierce's journey with autism, SPARK, and the Get SET Early model

Concerned your child has autism?

Early Signs of Autism

Identifying autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) at the earliest age possible can be very beneficial. There are early signs or behaviors of ASD that a child between 12–24 months old might exhibit.

List of early signs


There are different types of screening approaches, including the Get SET Early Model, which is designed to facilitate ASD diagnosis and treatment as early as the first or second trimester.

More about early screening

ACE Research Areas

Autism Research Programs at the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence are contributing to the overall understanding of autism spectrum disorder.

Eye Gaze Tracking


At the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence, Dr. Karen Pierce and her team are using eye tracking technology to identify eye tracking patterns that can be used as an early sign of autism.

More about eye gaze research


The study explores the question of eye gaze patterns as a valid biomarker of ASD and concludes that eye tracking can identify a meaningful subgroup on the spectrum.

Read more

Support Our Work

The Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is leading the way to illuminate autism's causes and determine effective early interventions.

Your support can help us continue to identify and treat autism at the early stage of life, when the possibilities for improvement are most promising. Our research is completely funded by grants and donations from people like you! 

Donate Now

UC San Diego ACE is in the ADDM Network

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has selected UC San Diego ACE as one of only 10 sites in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Our Center will shed light on the number of individuals living with autism and other developmental disabilities in the San Diego community.


Learn more about the program

Health Hero Awards

Introducing the Health Hero of the Month! 
During selected months, we highlight a healthcare staff member within our pediatric network who is outstanding in supporting their community and identifying early signs of developmental delays.

Read interviews with awardees

Dr. Eric Reed

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