Doctor Karen Pierce

Doctor Karen Pierce - Co- Director of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Autism Center of Excellence.


Dr. Pierce has been studying autism for the past 20 years and is a leading expert on the neural and clinical phenotype of ASD.  Her research spans a range of topics from early screening and detection to eye tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).  Her early detection approach, called the 1-Year Well-Baby Check-Up Approach, has identified several hundred ASD toddlers around the 1st birthday and has resulted in rapid treatment access.  Using eye tracking and brain imaging technology within this early-detected population, Dr. Pierce’s work has revealed unusual patterns of eye gaze and brain activity that helps elucidate the behavioral and biological heterogeneity of ASD.  Dr. Pierce has been invited as a keynote speaker on the topic of autism at both a national and international conferences. Her work is published in high-impact journals and has been highlighted in the public media including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.  Her research is funded by both NIH as well as private organizations such as the National Foundation for Autism Research.  She has been honored by several awards including US Department of Health and Human Services IACC Top Research Paper Award, Autism Speaks Top 10 Research Paper Award, and the San Diego Health Hero Award.