About Us

About Us

The UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART), led by Daniel Geschwind, MD, PhD and Susan Bookheimer, PhD, comprises outstanding faculty from the UCLA Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Neurology, Human Genetics, Pediatrics, Biostatistics, and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. The collaborative CART team of clinicians and scientists have integrated their research, clinical, and treatment programs to provide a unique, groundbreaking multidisciplinary approach to studying and caring for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—including studies in molecular genetics, brain imaging, and infant/toddler development, the use of scientific models, and interventions for infants through adults, including children who are minimally verbal.

Scientific Research

CART scientists pursue innovative scientific investigations to uncover the underlying causes of ASD, identify markers of risk and prognosis, and advance the science of ASD treatments. CART scientists then disseminate research findings to the community to promote best practices in clinical care and treatment and to help caregivers understand scientific discoveries. A significant portion of the research is grounded in and shaped by the community.

Clinical Care

The UCLA Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental (CAN) Clinic, led by Amanda Gulsrud, PhD and Benjamin Schneider, MD within CART offers comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and pioneering treatment for children with a wide range of developmental disabilities, and it is the primary home for outpatient care for individuals with ASD of all ages. The CAN Clinic brings together outstanding clinicians from multiple disciplines—including psychology, neurology, psychiatry, and genetics.

Treatment Programs

CART-affiliated treatment programs include the UCLA KidsConnect, led by Tanya Paparella, PhD and Stephanny Freeman, PhD, and the UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS®), led by Elizabeth Laugeson, PsyD. These programs provide social skills training through short-term treatment programs for preschoolers through early adulthood with ASD.

Training and Education

A fundamental goal of CART is to ensure that the scientific knowledge gained about ASD is disseminated to the community. The UCLA CAN REACH Training Program, led by Amanda Gulsrud, PhD and founded by Stephanny Freeman, PhD and Tanya Paparella, PhD, provides cutting edge empirically driven information, training, and resources on ASD to community professionals and parents to enhance the lives of individuals and families affected by ASD.

Many of the innovative interventions developed at UCLA are now widely available for clinical patients. A focus is to work with Los Angeles communities that are underserved and underresourced to bring educational opportunities and interventions to communities that otherwise would not have access to them through the center’s community-partnered research and clinical scholarship programs. CART investigators are ready to translate the daily results of research and treatment to offer hope to affected families.

CART also plays a significant role in developing the ASD clinicians and autism providers of the future. One of CART’s crucial goals is to train the most outstanding students to become the physicians, psychologists, researchers, and autism providers who will propel this field into a future of improved understanding of and treatment for individuals with ASD.


CART clinicians and investigators are deeply engaged with the greater Los Angeles autism community and is deeply committed to equity for community of color. Through community-partnered research, educational lectures and trainings, as well as a presence at local community outreach events, CART aims to connect and collaborate with autism communities.