Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Donald Dougherty, Ph.D.

William & Marguerite Wurzbach Distinguished Professor, Dept of Psychiatry, UT Health San Antonio

Director, Neurobehavioral Research Division, UT Health San Antonio

Deputy Chair for Research, Dept of Psychiatry, UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Dougherty is the William and Marguerite Wurzbach distinguished professor and director of the Neurobehavioral Research Division within the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He also serves as the director of the Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic (NRLC) and co-director of the Research Residency Program.

Research interests

My research interests are focused on understanding impulsive behaviors, with primary emphasis on problems associated with drug abuse and suicide. Current projects include examining how drug abuse and early stressful life events adversely affect adolescent development of impulse control, and their relationship to the development of other adolescent psychopathology.

Additionally, my interests include the identification of biological and behavioral risk factors for child and adult psychopathology. As an extension of this research, I along with my colleagues have developed behavioral software paradigms for objectively assessing underlying mechanisms of different types of impulsive behavior.

These paradigms have been validated in numerous studies and are freely available to other researchers. The long-term goals of the NRLC are to use information gathered from their research to inform the development of better treatment and community-based substance abuse prevention programs.


  • B.S. Psychology, Bridgewater College, 1985
  • M.S. Experimental Psychology, Ohio University, 1990
  • Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, Ohio University, 1992
  • Fellowship, Substance Abuse, University of Texas Medical School, 1995

Career Path

I completed my graduate training in psychology at Ohio University and then held a National Institute for Drug Abuse sponsored postdoctoral research fellowship at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSCH). After completing my training, I joined the faculty at UTHSCH, where the NRLC group was founded.

After 12 years at UTHSCH, I moved with the NRLC research team to Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, NC where I became Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry.

During my tenure as vice chair for research, the Department of Psychiatry made significant progress toward the development of an interdisciplinary translational research program, which was evidenced by substantial increases in support from the National Institutes of Health and private donors.

Seeing a great potential for expanding a translational research program to include interactions with community leaders within San Antonio, the NRLC research team and I returned to The University of Texas Health Sciences System in 2007.