While seeking a faculty appointment post-graduation and conducting postdoctoral research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dossey attended a conference in 2010 where he encountered the idea of leveraging insects as a sustainable food source.
“I thought, ‘This makes a lot of sense; insects are very efficient,’” he said. “I knew about their biochemistry. They’re coldblooded and they’re the most successful organisms on Earth, and some of them need very little feed or water to survive.”
This conference sparked ideas for Dossey’s future. A professor he’d met sent him a two-page application for a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, which contained hope for research. Dossey applied and, to his surprise, was awarded $100,000 to explore his proposal to develop a sustainable product made from insects to help alleviate malnutrition in children in areas struck by famine.
To accept the funds, Dossey had to provide his employment, and with his position at the USDA set to expire in a few months, he needed a way to secure the grant. So, he formed his own business, All Things Bugs LLC, in 2011.
All Things Bugs aims to provide sustainable ways to use insects to improve food security. Through the company and with USDA funding, Dossey invented a cricket powder called Griopro and patented the process. The powdered ingredient can be used to make pasta, baked goods, smoothies and more.
Over the last decade, Dossey’s business obtained over $5 million in research funding from the USDA, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In 2016, he published “Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients,” one of the first textbooks in the field of insects as food. As he continues his work, he hopes to commercialize his business through patent licensing and product sales.
But his passion for insects goes beyond business. In 2018, Dossey founded the Invertebrate Studies Institute, a nonprofit focused on invertebrate research, education and outreach. Its goal is to explore insect-based drug discovery and genome sequencing. He envisions the world’s largest insect zoo and biodome where he could someday sequence the genomes of every species on the planet.
“Increasing biodiversity is my goal,” Dossey said. “I’m focused on improving life on Earth.”