Airbnb, the property-rental marketplace that helps you find a place to stay when you're travelling, uses R to scale data science. Airbnb is a famously data-driven company, and has recently gone through a period of rapid growth. To accommodate the influx of data scientists (80% of whom are proficient in R, and 64% use R as their primary data analysis language), Airbnb organizes monthly week-long data bootcamps for new hires and current team members.
This website was mentioned or used as a source by many international newspapers and magazines including BBC, Time, The Week, Forbes, The Economist, Business Insider, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, The Telegraph, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, China Daily, The Washington Post, USA Today and dozens more.
Wise RP, Surana P, Mistry D, Dickerson J, Innes R, Nettleton D (2014) Journal of Integrative Agriculture 14(2):237-243
Genes encoding early signaling events in pathogen defense often are identified only by their phenotype. Such genes involved in barley-powdery mildew interactions include Mla, specifying race-specific resistance; Rar1 (Required for Mla12-specified resistance1), and Rom1 (Restoration of Mla-specified resistance1). The HSP90-SGT1-RAR1 complex appears to function as chaperone in MLA-specified resistance, however, much remains to be discovered regarding the precise signaling underlying plant immunity. Genetic analyses of fast-neutron mutants derived from CI 16151 (Mla6) uncovered a novel locus, designated Rar3 (Required for Mla6-specified resistance3). Rar3 segregates independent of Mla6 and Rar1, and rar3 mutants are susceptible to Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) isolate 5874 (AVRa6), whereas, wild-type progenitor plants are resistant. Comparative expression analyses of the rar3 mutant vs. its wild-type progenitor were conducted via Barley1 GeneChip and GAIIx paired-end RNA-Seq. Whereas Rar1 affects transcription of relatively few genes; Rar3 appears to influence thousands, notably in genes controlling ATP binding, catalytic activity, transcription, and phosphorylation; possibly membrane bound or in the nucleus. eQTL analysis of a segregating doubled haploid population identified over two-thousand genes as being regulated by Mla (q value/FDR=0.00001), a subset of which are significant in Rar3 interactions. The intersection of datasets derived from mla-loss-of-function mutants, Mla-associated eQTL, and rar3-mediated transcriptome reprogramming are narrowing the focus on essential genes required for Mla-specified immunity.
Xu W, Meng Y, Surana P, Fuerst G, Nettleton D and Wise RP (2015) Front. Plant Sci. 6:409.
Plants have evolved complex regulatory mechanisms to control a multi-layered defense response to microbial attack. Both temporal and spatial gene expression are tightly regulated in response to pathogen ingress, modulating both positive and negative control of defense. BLUFENSINs, small knottin-like peptides in barley, wheat, and rice, are highly induced by attack from fungal pathogens, in particular, the obligate biotrophic fungus, Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh), causal agent of barley powdery mildew. Previous research indicated that Blufensin1 (Bln1) functions as a negative regulator of basal defense mechanisms. In the current report, we show that BLN1 and BLN2 can both be secreted to the apoplast and Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV)-mediated overexpression of Bln2 increases susceptibility of barley to Bgh. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays signify that BLN1 and BLN2 can interact with each other, and with calmodulin. We then used BSMV-induced gene silencing to knock down Bln1, followed by Barley1 GeneChip transcriptome analysis, to identify additional host genes influenced by Bln1. Analysis of differential expression revealed a gene set enriched for those encoding proteins annotated to nuclear import and the secretory pathway, particularly Importin α1-b and Sec61 γ subunits. Further functional analysis of these two affected genes showed that when silenced, they also reduced susceptibility to Bgh. Taken together, we postulate that Bln1 is co-opted by Bgh to facilitate transport of disease-related host proteins or effectors, influencing the establishment of Bgh compatibility on its barley host.
Ehren Whigham, Shan Qi, Divya Mistry, Priyanka Surana, Ruo Xu, Gregory Fuerst, Clara Pliego, Laurence V. Bindschedler, Pietro D. Spanu, Julie A. Dickerson, Roger W. Innes, Dan Nettleton, Adam J. Bogdanove, and Roger P. Wise - Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 2015 28:9, 968-983
The interaction of barley, Hordeum vulgare L., with the powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei is a well-developed model to investigate resistance and susceptibility to obligate biotrophic pathogens. The 130-Mb Blumeria genome encodes approximately 540 predicted effectors that are hypothesized to suppress or induce host processes to promote colonization. Blumeria effector candidate (BEC)1019, a single-copy gene encoding a putative, secreted metalloprotease, is expressed in haustorial feeding structures, and host-induced gene silencing of BEC1019 restricts haustorial development in compatible interactions. Here, we show that Barley stripe mosaic virus–induced gene silencing of BEC1019 significantly reduces fungal colonization of barley epidermal cells, demonstrating that BEC1019 plays a central role in virulence. In addition, delivery of BEC1019 to the host cytoplasm via Xanthomonas type III secretion suppresses cultivar nonspecific hypersensitive reaction (HR) induced by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola, as well as cultivar-specific HR induced by AvrPphB from Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola. BEC1019 homologs are present in 96 of 241 sequenced fungal genomes, including plant pathogens, human pathogens, and free-living nonpathogens. Comparative analysis revealed variation at several amino acid positions that correlate with fungal lifestyle and several highly conserved, noncorrelated motifs. Site-directed mutagenesis of one of these, ETVIC, compromises the HR-suppressing activity of BEC1019. We postulate that BEC1019 represents an ancient, broadly important fungal protein family, members of which have evolved to function as effectors in plant and animal hosts.
The recent editorial by Drs. Longo and Drazen in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)  has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. As Executive Officers of the International Society of Computational Biology, Inc. (ISCB), we express our deep concern about the restrictive and potentially damaging opinions voiced in this editorial, and while ISCB works to write a detailed response, we felt it necessary to promptly address the editorial with this reaction. While some of the concerns voiced by the authors of the editorial are worth considering, large parts of the statement purport an obsolete view of hegemony over data that is neither in line with today’s spirit of open access nor furthering an atmosphere in which the potential of data can be fully realized.
Clara Pliego, Daniela Nowara, Giulia Bonciani, Dana M. Gheorghe, Ruo Xu, Priyanka Surana, Ehren Whigham, Dan Nettleton, Adam J. Bogdanove, Roger P. Wise, Patrick Schweizer, Laurence V. Bindschedler, and Pietro D. Spanu - Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 2013 26:6, 633-642
Obligate biotrophic pathogens of plants must circumvent or counteract defenses to guarantee accommodation inside the host. To do so, they secrete a variety of effectors that regulate host immunity and facilitate the establishment of pathogen feeding structures called haustoria. The barley powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei produces a large number of proteins predicted to be secreted from haustoria. Fifty of these Blumeria effector candidates (BEC) were screened by host-induced gene silencing (HIGS), and eight were identified that contribute to infection. One shows similarity to β-1,3 glucosyltransferases, one to metallo-proteases, and two to microbial secreted ribonucleases; the remainder have no similarity to proteins of known function. Transcript abundance of all eight BEC increases dramatically in the early stages of infection and establishment of haustoria, consistent with a role in that process. Complementation analysis using silencing-insensitive synthetic cDNAs demonstrated that the ribonuclease-like BEC 1011 and 1054 are bona fide effectors that function within the plant cell. BEC1011 specifically interferes with pathogen-induced host cell death. Both are part of a gene superfamily unique to the powdery mildew fungi. Structural modeling was consistent, with BEC1054 adopting a ribonuclease-like fold, a scaffold not previously associated with effector function.
In January 2014, Stanford University professors Trevor Hastie and Rob Tibshirani (authors of the legendary Elements of Statistical Learning textbook) taught an online course based on their newest textbook, An Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in R (ISLR). I found it to be an excellent course in statistical learning (also known as “machine learning”), largely due to the high quality of both the textbook and the video lectures. And as an R user, it was extremely helpful that they included R code to demonstrate most of the techniques described in the book.
As a supplement to the textbook, you may also want to watch the excellent course lecture videos (linked below), in which Dr. Hastie and Dr. Tibshirani discuss much of the material. In case you want to browse the lecture content, I’ve also linked to the PDF slides used in the videos.