Anna R. Docherty, PhD, LP portrait
  • Assistant Director, Office Of Sr Vp Health Sci, Clinical and Translational Research Institute
  • Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Research Statement

Dr. Docherty is a quantitative geneticist and a clinician. She examines risk and resilience in the context of severe psychiatric outcomes, and specializes in the clinical treatment of psychosis, suicide risk, and severe depression. Dr. Docherty was a predoctoral and postdoctoral NIMH research fellow, with awards to study quantitative genetics and bioinformatics before and after her clinical residency. This led her to collaborate with the Wellcome Trust and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and to lead projects examining molecular genetic risk in the context of behavioral health.

Since 2016, Dr. Docherty has directed a computational laboratory to examine the genetics of suicide, treatment-resistant depression, and psychosis. The research team leverages large genetic datasets to study psychiatric populations, suicide deaths, and healthy emerging adults. We have secured funding from the NIMH, the Simons Foundation, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to test models of genetic risk for major mental health conditions. We use a computational pipeline for genome-wide risk scoring of hundreds of mental and physical health outcomes (the “phenome”) to study the inter-relationships of psychiatric and medical conditions across critical stages of human development.

Currently, Dr. Docherty’s focus is on enhancing prevention of severe psychopathology and suicide risk during emerging adulthood and in high-risk populations. Dr. Docherty is also an active member of the Genetic Testing and Ethics committees of the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics and several Psychiatric Genomics Consortium efforts to map the genetics of psychiatric disorders. With Robert Welsh, PhD, Docherty co-directs the department’s NINDS R25 workshop, Advanced Statistical Training for Imaging and Genetics. She is also a provider and community educator, directing an outpatient clinic at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute focused on evidence-based group and individual psychotherapies for management of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and psychosis. Dr. Docherty is a member of the Utah LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapists Guild and the Trans Health Program at the University of Utah.




Research Keywords

  • Suicide
  • Statistics
  • Statistical Genetics
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychiatric Genomics
  • Psychiatric Genetics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Genetics
  • Depression

Research Equipment and Testing Expertise

  • R, LDpred, GCTA, FUMA, Plink, PRSice, SAS, MPlus, OpenMx, Mx, Merlin, samtools, bedtools, etc.
  • Unix shell (bash), Perl.


  • French, basic.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Asia
    Much of psychiatric genetics has been limited to populations of Northern European ancestry. Dr. Docherty particularly interested in how this research translates to genetic variation in populations with ancestry in Southeast Asia, Northern and Middle Africa, Latin America, South America, Indigenous North America, and India. She is also interested in how immigration and cultural displacement reflect distinct (and preventable) psychiatric sequelae.