Two West Virginia University scientists are being applauded for their work that explores everything from ways to enhance cell phones to why the cells of the human body behave the way they do.

Dr. Thomas H. Myers of the Department of Physics and Dr. Ashok P. Bidwai of the Department of Biology have been named Outstanding Researchers for 2005 by the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Myers has spent the past several years watching certain nitrates and semiconductors interact to form materials that could go into the manufacture of highly advanced electronic communication devicessuch as cell phones that could communicate directly with satellites.

It’s an exclusive club, Physics Chair Dr. Earl Scime said.

“Dr. Myers is one of a very small cadre of researchers who spend the time necessary to characterize and understand the basic science of semiconductor growth,”Scime said.

Myers is currently interim director of the WVNano Initiative, which researches the practical applications of nanotechnology, a look at life on the atom-to-atom level.

He also won the Eberly research award in 1998 and the college’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 1999. In 2000 he received the WVU ’s Foundation’s Outstanding Teacher Award.

Myers earned a B.S. in physics from North Carolina State University in 1979, and Ph.D. in solid state physics from there in 1983. He joined WVU in 1982.

Bidwai’s up-close research of the tiny fruit fly could make big-time developments for researchers looking to stave off devastating illnesses in humans.

His work, Biology Chair Dr. Jonathan Cumming said, is showing the key role the protein casein kinase 2, or CK2 , plays in the formation and growth of cells. CK2 might be the on-off switch, Cumming said, which”tells”cells what they’re going to become.

“He may have discovered one of the’Holy Grails’in the developmental field,”Cumming said.”Every cell in the body has the potential to develop into any type of tissue. However, the formation of complex tissues, organs and ultimately, bodies reflects a fine regulation of the trajectory of cell development. Understanding these fine controls will potentially help us prevent developmental diseases and defects.”

Bidwai is also the recipient of a 3-year, $657,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his CK2 research.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology in 1981 and 1983 from Panjab University, India. In 1988, he received a biology doctorate from Utah State University. He joined WVU in 1996.