Dr. Aaron T. Dossey is a life-long, self-taught Entomologist and enthusiast of Entomology and nature, 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 from the University of Florida in 2006.
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.
The research program he began in 2006 emerged from his life-long passion for entomology and understanding the biochemical and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie natural processes. Dr. Dossey believes that there is substantial potential for insects to help combat world hunger and contribute to future food security. In January 2012, he was invited to and attended a meeting at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) in Rome, Italy which explored this exact topic, and came away even more optimistic of the potential insects bring to bear therein.
In addition to insects as a sustainable human food source, Dr. Dossey believes that insects, nematodes and other invertebrates represent tremendous unexplored potential, or “low crawling fruit”, as a source of new natural product compounds and biosynthetic enzymes. New compounds from insects could be useful as medicines, insect repellents and to ward off pests from crops. New insect-derived enzymes could be utilized in cleaner, greener production of a wide variety of chemical substances currently used in agriculture, medicine, materials, etc. Read more in the Science section of this site!
Dr. Dossey’s research has led to award-winning publications as well as speaking engagements at meetings and institutions. For example, he was awarded the Jack Beal Award for “Best Paper in the Journal of Natural Products” for 2007 for his work discovering parectadial in the defense spray of the stick insect Parectatosoma mocquerysi. More recently in December 2010, another of his articles was given the “Editor’s Choice Award” from the Entomological Society of America for “Best Article in Annals of the Entomological Society of America” at the society’s annual conference.
In addition to research, Dr. Dossey takes on a leadership role in his community whenever possible to promote activities and concepts that are important to him including careers for young scientists, sustainable energy, recycling, and environmental protection. He organized a large Entomology section of the USA Science and Engineering Festival in April 2012, helped start the University of Florida Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and authored a resolution which was passed by the US House of Representatives to establish “National Postdoc Appreciation Week”. Dr. Dossey is very interested in conservation, education and public outreach based on insects and Entomology. One of his long term career goals is to establish a public insect zoo that works synergistically with his research facility.