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Anna R. Docherty


Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Neurobiology of Disease
Brain and Behavior




B.A. 2002, Oberlin College; Ph.D. 2013, University of Missouri-Columbia. Postdoctoral Fellow 2013-2016, Virginia Insitute for Psychiatric & Behavioral Genetics


Psychiatric genetics

Dr. Anna Docherty, Ph.D. recently completed her postdoc training at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. In two years at VIPBG, she secured an NIMH K01 and NARSAD Young Investigator Award to study the molecular genetics of schizophrenia and schizotypy, and published several papers using both biometrical and molecular genetics approaches. She just began a tenure-track professorship in Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the University of Utah, and her work dovetails extremely well with the Utah Genome Project, the Utah Human Population Database, Utah's ABCD research grant, and the University Neuropsychiatric Institute, where she will serve as a senior investigator.

Her interest in psychiatric genetics began during her doctoral training in clinical psychology at both the University of Missouri (Ph.D.) and the University of Minnesota (NIMH F31 Fellow and American Psychological Foundation Fellow). This led her to seek training from Drs. Michael C. Neale, Ph.D. and Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., and while working with Dr. Kendler, her interests in the molecular genetics of schizophrenia led to projects examining symptom dimensions and pathway-based polygenic risk modeling. Currently, her focus is on enhancing prediction and prevention of severe psychopathology, and on developing statistical methods for the DNA-driven molecular genetic subtyping of psychosis.

Dr. Docherty's current NIMH-funded research aims involve 1) genetic subtyping of schizophrenia and 2) GWAS-based polygenic prediction of numerous mental and physical health outcomes (the phenome) across critical stages of human development. She is especially interested in overall empirical refinement of psychiatric classification, and enhanced prediction of severe psychopathology via genetic modeling.

Selected Publications:

Docherty, A.R., Moscati, A., Savage, J., Salvatore, J., Cooke, M., Aliev, F., Moore, A., Edwards, A. C., Adkins, D.E., Webb, B.T., Dick, D., Bacanu, S.A. & Kendler, K.S. (2017) Polygenic prediction of the phenome in emerging adulthood. In review, Psychological Science, Pending, 01/03/2017.

Merrill, A.M., Karcher, N.R., Cicero, D.C., Becker, T.M., Docherty, A.R., & Kerns, J.G. (2017) Evidence that communication impairment in schizophrenia is associated with generalized poor task performance. Psychiatry Research, in press, 01/03/2017.

Docherty, A.R. (2017) Editorial: Genetic susceptibility to depression and obesity. British Journal of Psychiatry, in press, 01/01/2017.

Docherty, A.R., Bigdeli, T.B., Yang, Z., Edwards, A.C., Peterson, R., Webb, B.T., Bacanu, S.A., Flint, J., Kendler, K.S., CONVERGE Consortium. (2017) Age at onset & family history of major depression: polygenic association with major depression? Depression and Anxiety, in press, 10/14/2016.

Docherty, A.R., Moscati, A.A. & Fanous, A.H. (2016) Cross-disorder psychiatric genomics. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, Published, 08/02/2016.

Docherty, A.R., Moscati, A., Peterson, R., Edwards, A.C., Bigdeli, T.B., Adkins, D.E., Webb, B.T., Bacanu, S.A., Flint, J., Kendler, K.S. (2016) SNP-Based heritability estimates of the personality dimensions and polygenic prediction of both neuroticism and major depression: Findings from CONVERGE. Translational Psychiatry., Published, 08/01/2016.

Edwards, A.C., Aggen, S.H., Cai, N., Bigdeli, T.B., Peterson, R.E., Docherty, A.R., Webb, B.T., Flint, J., & Kendler, K.S. (2016) Chronicity of depression and molecular markers in a large sample of Han Chinese women. Depression & Anxiety, Published, 08/01/2016.

Docherty, A.R. (2016) Genomic approaches to phenotype prediction. JAMA Psychiatry., Published, 01/07/2016.

Docherty, A.R., Kremen, W., Panizzon, M., Franz, C., Lyons, M.J., Eaves, L., & Neale, M.C. (2015) Comparison of twin and extended pedigree designs for obtaining heritability estimates. Behavior Genetics, Published, 12/07/2015.

Docherty, A.R., Panizzon, M., Neale, M.C., Chen, C., Fiecas, M., Elyer, L.T., Fennema-Notestine, C., Hagler, D., Fischl, B., Franz, C., Jak, A., Lyons, M.J., Rinker, D., Thompson, W.K., Tsuang, M., Dale, A., & Kremen, W. (2015) Does degree of gyrification underlie the phenotypic and genetic associations between cortical surface area and cognitive ability? In press at NeuroImage, Published, 10/08/2015.

Cicero, D.C., Docherty, A.R., Becker, T.M., Martin, E.A., & Kerns, J.K. (2015) Aberrant salience, self-concept clarity, and interview-rated psychotic-like experiences. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment , Published, 08/07/2015.

Docherty, A.R., Panizzon, M., Sawyers, C.K., Neale, M.C., Elyer, L.T., Fennema-Notestine, C., Hagler, D., Fischl, B., Franz, C., Thompson, W.K., Tsuang, M., Dale, A., & Kremen, W. (2015) Genetic network properties of the human cortex based on regional thickness and surface area measures.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Published, 08/03/2015.

Docherty, A.R., Bigdeli, T.B., Edwards, A.C., Bacanu, S., Lee, D., Neale, M.C., Wormley, B.S., Walsh, D., O'Neill, F.A., Riley, B.P., Kendler, K.S. & Fanous, A. H. (2015) Gene-based and gene pathway analysis of symptom dimensions of psychotic illness based on schizophrenia-specific model of the OPCRIT. Schizophrenia Research, Published, 08/03/2015.

Edwards, A.C., Bigdeli, T.B., Docherty, A.R., Bacanu, S., Lee, D., DeCandia, T., Moscati, A., Thiselton, D.M., Maher, B.S., Wormley, B.S., Walsh, D., O'Neill, F.A., Kendler, K.S., Riley, B.P. & H. Fanous, A. H. (2015) Meta-analysis of positive and negative symptoms reveals schizophrenia modifier genes. Schizophrenia Bulletin, Published, 08/03/2015.

Docherty, A.R. (2015) Regarding brain structural abnormalities in intellectually superior schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, Published, 08/03/2015.

Docherty, A.R.,Sponheim, S.R., & Kerns, J.G. (2015) Self-reported affective traits and current affective experience in biological relatives of people with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, Published, 08/03/2015.

Panizzon, M., Neale, M.C., Docherty, A.R., Franz, C., Jacobson, K., Fiecas, M., Toomey, R., Xian, H., Vasilopoulos, T., Rana, B., McKenzie, R., Lyons, M. & Kremen, W. (2015) Genetic and environmental architecture of changes in episodic memory from middle to late middle age. Psychology and Aging, Published, 01/02/2015.

Docherty, A.R. & Sponheim, S.R. (2014) Anhedonia as an Indicator of Genetic Liability to Schizophrenia. M. Ritsner (Ed.), Anhedonia: A Comprehensive Handbook, Dordrecht: Springer. Published, 08/01/2014.

Docherty, A.R., Cicero, D.C., Becker, T.M., & Kerns, J.G. (2014) Self-reported ambivalence in schizophrenia and associations with negative mood. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Published, 08/01/2014.

Docherty, A.R., Sponheim, S.R., & Gizer, I.A. (2014) DISC1 loci not associated with anhedonia in individuals with genetic liability for schizophrenia. Psychiatric Genetics, Published, 08/01/2014.

Cicero, D.C., Becker, T.M., Martin, E.A., Docherty, A.R., & Kerns, J.K. (2014) Correspondence between psychometric and clinical high risk for psychosis. Psychological Assessment, Published, 08/01/2014.

Docherty, A.R., Sponheim, S.R., & Kerns, J.G. (2014) Further examination of ambivalence in relation to the schizophrenia spectrum. Schizophrenia Research, Published, 08/01/2014.

Eaton, N.R., Krueger, R.F., Docherty, A.R. & Sponheim, S.R. (2014) Toward a Model-Based Approach to the Clinical Assessment of Personality Psychopathology. Journal of Personality Assessment, Published, 08/01/2014.

January, A.M., Meyerson, D.A., Reddy, L.F., Docherty, A.R., & Klonoff, E.A. (2014) Impressions of misconduct: Clinical psychology doctoral students’ perceptions of faculty ethical violations. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, Published, 08/01/2014.

Vrieze, S.I., Docherty, A.R., Arbisi, P., Thuras, P., Abecasis, C., Erbes, C.R., Siegel, W., Iacono, W., Sponheim, S.R., & Leskela, J. (2014) The electronic medical record is an invaluable clinical tool. Let’s start using it. Psychiatric Services, Published, 01/01/2014.

Cicero, D.C. Becker, T.M., Martin, E.A., Docherty, A.R., & Kerns, J.G. (2013) The role of aberrant salience and low self-concept clarity in psychotic-like experiences. Personality Disorders, 4:33-42. Published, 08/01/2013.

Docherty, A.R., Coleman, M.J., Deutsch, C., Tu, X., Mendell, N.R., & Levy, D.L. (2012) Comparison of putative endophenotypes in schizophrenia patients with and without obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms: Examining evidence for the schizo-obsessive subtype. Schizophrenia Research, 140:83-86. Published, 08/01/2012.

Martin, E.A., Becker, T.M., Cicero, D.C., Docherty, A.R. & Kerns, J.G. (2011) Differential associations between schizotypy facets and aspects of attention to emotion. Psychiatry Research, 187:94-99. Published, 08/01/2011.

Docherty, A.R., Berenbaum, H. & Kerns, J.G. (2011) Alogia and formal thought disorder: differential patterns of verbal fluency task performance.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45:1352-1357. Published, 08/01/2011.

Grijalva, F.E., Ford, J.D., Docherty, A.R., Fricker-Elhai, A.E., & Elhai, J.D. (2008) Sociodemographic associations with mental health and residential care utilization among juvenile delinquents. Psychological Services, 5:153-160. Published, 08/01/2008.

Kerns, J.G., Docherty, A.R. & Martin, E.A. (2008) Social and physical anhedonia and valence and arousal aspects of emotional experience. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117:735-746. Published, 08/01/2008.

Docherty, A.R. & Sponheim, S.R. (2008) Anhedonia as a phenotype for the Val158Met COMT polymorphism in relatives of patients with schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117:788-798. Published, 08/01/2008.

Elhai, J.D., Gray, M.J., Docherty, A.R., Kashdan, T.B., & Kose, S. (2007) Structural validity of the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist among college students with a trauma history. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22:1471-1478. Published, 08/01/2007.

Last Updated: 6/4/21