22 research outputs found

    An adaptive functional regression framework for spatially heterogeneous signals in spectroscopy

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    The attention towards food products characteristics, such as nutritional properties and traceability, has risen substantially in the recent years. Consequently, we are witnessing an increased demand for the development of modern tools to monitor, analyse and assess food quality and authenticity. Within this framework, an essential set of data collection techniques is provided by vibrational spectroscopy. In fact, methods such as Fourier near infrared and mid infrared spectroscopy have been often exploited to analyze different foodstuffs. Nonetheless, existing statistical methods often struggle to deal with the challenges presented by spectral data, such as their high dimensionality, paired with strong relationships among the wavelengths. Therefore, the definition of proper statistical procedures accounting for the peculiarities of spectroscopy data is paramount. In this work, motivated by two dairy science applications, we propose an adaptive functional regression framework for spectroscopy data. The method stems from the trend filtering literature, allowing the definition of a highly flexible and adaptive estimator able to handle different degrees of smoothness. We provide a fast optimization procedure that is suitable for both Gaussian and non Gaussian scalar responses, and allows for the inclusion of scalar covariates. Moreover, we develop inferential procedures for both the functional and the scalar component thus enhancing not only the interpretability of the results, but also their usability in real world scenarios. The method is applied to two sets of MIR spectroscopy data, providing excellent results when predicting milk chemical composition and cows' dietary treatments. Moreover, the developed inferential routine provides relevant insights, potentially paving the way for a richer interpretation and a better understanding of the impact of specific wavelengths on milk features.Comment: 20 pages, 3 figure

    Functional concurrent regression with compositional covariates and its application to the time-varying effect of causes of death on human longevity

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    Multivariate functional data that are cross-sectionally compositional data are attracting increasing interest in the statistical modeling literature, a major example being trajectories over time of compositions derived from cause-specific mortality rates. In this work, we develop a novel functional concurrent regression model in which independent variables are functional compositions. This allows us to investigate the relationship over time between life expectancy at birth and compositions derived from cause-specific mortality rates of four distinct age classes, namely 0--4, 5--39, 40--64 and 65+. A penalized approach is developed to estimate the regression coefficients and select the relevant variables. Then an efficient computational strategy based on an augmented Lagrangian algorithm is derived to solve the resulting optimization problem. The good performances of the model in predicting the response function and estimating the unknown functional coefficients are shown in a simulation study. The results on real data confirm the important role of neoplasms and cardiovascular diseases in determining life expectancy emerged in other studies and reveal several other contributions not yet observed

    Altered TMPRSS2 usage by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron impacts infectivity and fusogenicity

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    The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron’s evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis

    An Augmented Reality Solution for the Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support

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    The spread of Augmented Reality (AR) and the recent technological developments, provide innovative techniques and tools that show a growing potential in education. One of the pilots of the European Horizon 2020 project ARETE (Augmented Reality Interactive Educational System) aims to investigate and evaluate for the first time the introduction of an AR solution to support a behavioral lesson in schools where the Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) methodology is adopted. Specifically in this paper, we describe the architectural design and implementation of a PBIS-AR application as a component of the ARETE ecosystem. It describes the functionality of the system and the teaching process that the AR solution will support

    Multiscale stick-breaking mixture models

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    Sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 to mRNA vaccine-elicited antibodies

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    Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is uncontrolled in many parts of the world; control is compounded in some areas by the higher transmission potential of the B.1.1.7 variant1, which has now been reported in 94 countries. It is unclear whether the response of the virus to vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 on the basis of the prototypic strain will be affected by the mutations found in B.1.1.7. Here we assess the immune responses of individuals after vaccination with the mRNA-based vaccine BNT162b22. We measured neutralizing antibody responses after the first and second immunizations using pseudoviruses that expressed the wild-type spike protein or a mutated spike protein that contained the eight amino acid changes found in the B.1.1.7 variant. The sera from individuals who received the vaccine exhibited a broad range of neutralizing titres against the wild-type pseudoviruses that were modestly reduced against the B.1.1.7 variant. This reduction was also evident in sera from some patients who had recovered from COVID-19. Decreased neutralization of the B.1.1.7 variant was also observed for monoclonal antibodies that target the N-terminal domain (9 out of 10) and the receptor-binding motif (5 out of 31), but not for monoclonal antibodies that recognize the receptor-binding domain that bind outside the receptor-binding motif. Introduction of the mutation that encodes the E484K substitution in the B.1.1.7 background to reflect a newly emerged variant of concern (VOC 202102/02) led to a more-substantial loss of neutralizing activity by vaccine-elicited antibodies and monoclonal antibodies (19 out of 31) compared with the loss of neutralizing activity conferred by the mutations in B.1.1.7 alone. The emergence of the E484K substitution in a B.1.1.7 background represents a threat to the efficacy of the BNT162b2 vaccine

    Mid infrared spectroscopy and milk quality traits: a data analysis competition at the “International Workshop on Spectroscopy and Chemometrics 2021”

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    datasetchemometric data analysis challenge has been arranged during the first edition of the “International Workshop on Spectroscopy and Chemometrics”, organized by the Vistamilk SFI Research Centre and held online in April 2021. The aim of the competition was to build a calibration model in order to predict milk quality traits exploiting the information contained in mid-infrared spectra only. Three different traits have been provided, presenting heterogeneous degrees of prediction complexity thus possibly requiring trait-specific modelling choices. In this paper the different approaches adopted by the participants are outlined and the insights obtained from the analyses are critically discussed
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