President, Founder and Owner: Dr. Aaron T. Dossey
Dr. Aaron T. Dossey is a life-long, self-taught Entomologist and enthusiast of Entomology and nature, and very passionate about his work as anyone who has ever known him can strongly attest. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cum Laude from Oklahoma State University in 2001, with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics. He graduated with his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences – IDP) from the University of Florida’s College of Medicine in 2006. Dr. Dossey also was invited to and attended the UN FAO (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization) expert consultation on the potential for insects to contribute to human food security at the organization’s headquarters in Rome, Italy, 2012.
The central theme of his research is to capitalize on the chemical and biological diversity which exists among arthropods for a host of applications including drug discovery, identifying new insect repellents and how insects might contribute to a more sustainable human food supply.
Dr. Dossey is an avid nature and insect photographer, has reared over 50 different species of insects and has also founded a non-profit Invertebrate Studies Institute dedicated to insect and invertebrate based education and outreach and to establish a world-class insect zoo and basic insect chemistry and behavior research laboratory. Dr. Dossey also enjoys travel, adventure and collaborating with colleagues to learn more about archaeology in places like Peru.
It’s an Inspiring Story of Triumph and Passion
Like many businesses, All Things Bugs was founded out of passion and necessity. In 2011, Dr. Aaron T. Dossey was trying to find a faculty position in biochemistry, entomology, biology, chemistry or any related science field. In between searching, Dr. Dossey was told of a grant that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was offering for those who are able to find an answer to the topic “To alleviate malnutrition in children.” Dr. Dossey applied for the grant and later in the year, was informed he was the recipient of the grant. However, one of the requirement to officially obtain the grant was to either have a faculty position in a higher institution or to work for a company. With neither of the requirement present at the time, Dr. Dossey asked if he was to create a company would the Foundation award him the grant then. The Foundation agreed that they would and six months later, Dr. Dossey founded All Things Bug LLC and became president of the company. In 2012, Dr. Dossey was finally able to receive the grant and began the first phase of his innovation. Dr. Dossey decided that an insect based RUTF (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food) would be the ideal food to alleviate malnutrition in children. During this project Dr. Dossey successfully developed multiple prototypes of RUTF with varying levels of insect, from insect replacing only the dairy/milk powder portion of standard RUTF formulations to formulations where insect made up all of the protein content in the product (whereas in most other RUTF, most of the protein comes from peanut butter).
However, through a few trials and errors, he quickly learned that a fine powder is the most useful form to utilize “insect as a food ingredient.” Thus he also applied for (2012) and received (2013) his first Phase I USDA SBIR grant ($100,000). Phase I grant was to develop a clear and efficient innovation that can make the powder better. It was during the original Phase I project that Dr. Dossey developed a patented process that allows Griopro® to produce the finest and most functional Cricket Powder as well as the longest shelf life cricket powder on the market. Based on the high level of success of that Phase I project (refining and commercializing the cricket powder production process, commercialization in Phase I SBIR’s being rare) he went for Phase II funding. In 2014, Dr. Dossey applied for a phase II grant with the USDA for funding his company. The goal of the Phase II grant was to focus more on functionality, shelf life and other important properties of Griopro® which are important to food producers seeking to utilize this transformative new ingredient in their products on the market. Additionally, All Things Bugs LLC has Phase I USDA SBIR funding to improve the efficiency and economics of cricket farming (via automating and mechanizing harvesting and watering as well as improving feed formulations) and is also producing and exploring powder based ingredients made from other edible insects such as mealworms and waxworms. It seems the sky is the limit for insect based foods!