W. Gregory Sawyer

W. Gregory Sawyer

Prof. Greg Sawyer
Prof. W. Gregory Sawyer


  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, PhD 1999

Professional Experience

  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, Mars Rover Team, 1992
  • NASA Langley Research Center,  Microgravity Crystal Growth, 1994

Professional Society Memberships

  • Fellow National Academy of Inventors (NAI)
  • Fellow Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE)
  • Members International Society of Contact Lens Researchers (ISCLR)

Editorial Board Membership

  • BioTribology
  • Tribology Letters


Greg Sawyer is a professor, engineer, scientist, cancer researcher and cancer survivor who has turned his attention from exploring outer space to exploring new frontiers in the battle against cancer.

A professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Florida, Greg was a member of the original Mars Rover design team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL 1992).  He helped design equipment for the Mars Pathfinder’s Sojourner Rover that surveyed the Martian landscape, and decades later he designed and built the first moving mechanical experiments in tribology that operated while exposed to the harsh low earth orbit environment aboard the International Space Station.

After his own diagnosis with stage-IV cancer, Greg converted his laboratory in surface engineering and Tribology into a center for cancer and tumor engineering. The laboratory’s approach to cancer research is focused on allowing scientists to visualize and interact with cancer.  Using bio-printing techniques and other approaches pioneered at UF’s College of Engineering, his team builds tumors from patient’s cancer cells.  This gives researchers the unique opportunity to test therapies and study cancer biology in 3D in real time with high resolution microscopy.

He is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, a UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, holds over two-dozens of patents, has authored over two hundred scientific publications, and mentored dozens of PhD students – many of whom are now faculty working at the interfaces between engineering, science, and biomedicine.

Commencement Addresses

UF Commencement – 2018
UF Doctoral Commencement – 2018

Resolve Video Series

Engineering the Future of Cancer Research Today