UmojaHack Tunisia: InstaDeep Kinase Classification Challenge by UmojaHack Africa
DT 11,000
Predict the class of a protein kinase enzyme using only its amino acid sequence
252 data scientists enrolled, 135 on the leaderboard
17 October 2020
9 hours

This is a private hackathon open to UmojaHack Tunisia participants. If you are a university student in Tunisia and would like to participate, contact Zindi Ambassador Mohamed Salem Jedidi.

Protein kinases are enzymes that play a vital role in all eukaryotic cells (such as our own). They switch other proteins on and off by adding phosphate groups, which changes how those proteins behave by modifying properties such as flexibility or reactivity. Protein kinases can be classified by function into multiple classes within several main groups.

All enzymes, including protein kinases, are made of one or more chains of amino acids, which determine their structure, behaviour, and interaction with other enzymes and molecules. That means it should be possible to predict the protein kinase class given just the amino acid sequence - which is the goal of this hackathon. You must predict which class a sequence belongs to.

Since sequences in the same class all perform essentially the same function, usually through the same mechanism, they are likely to share certain defining characteristics. However, these kinases are thought to have evolved via multiple different pathways. Two sequences with the same function might have evolved separately and ended up with very different sequences, and two kinases might look similar due to a shared evolutionary history, but perform very different functions. This makes it harder to tell via simple comparison what function a given sequence will perform.

In addition to kinases from known organisms (which we have from studying their proteomes), there are vast numbers of metagenomic kinase sequences - this is proteomic sequence data from environmental samples. Being able to quickly annotate them with function using this model (i.e. going beyond simple sequence similarity) would be indispensable. Models developed in the course of this challenge may contribute to furthering the understanding of the world around us.

How to prepare for UmojaHack

  1. Add your university to your profile. Watch this YouTube video.
  2. Practice on a challenge and make your first Zindi submission. Watch this YouTube video.
  3. Make a team in preparation for UmojaHack. Watch this YouTube video.

About InstaDeep (

InstaDeep delivers AI-powered decision-making systems for the Enterprise. With expertise in both machine intelligence research and concrete business deployments, we provide a competitive advantage to our customers in an AI-first world. As one of the leading AI companies in Africa, InstaDeep knows first-hand what African talent is truly capable of.

InstaDeep has more than 120 employees spread across its headquarters in London, and offices in Paris, Tunis, Dubai, Lagos and Cape Town. In addition to its connections to African educational institutions, the company also possesses strong ties to elite French schools and top rated universities in the UK. To apply: and

About IEEE Tunisia Section (

IEEE Tunisia Section is the Association representing IEEE (the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity) in Tunisia with more than 3000 members in about 30 Tunisian universities.