Sopa: a technology-invariant pipeline for analyses of image-based spatial-omics

Quentin Blampey, Kevin Mulder, Charles-Antoine Dutertre, Margaux Gardet, Fabrice André, Florent Ginhoux, Paul-Henry Cournède
bioRxiv (2023)


Spatial-omics data allow in-depth analysis of tissue architectures, opening new opportunities for biological discovery. In particular, imaging techniques offer single-cell resolutions, providing essential insights into cellular organizations and dynamics. Yet, the complexity of such data presents analytical challenges and demands substantial computing resources. Moreover, the proliferation of diverse spatial-omics technologies, such as Xenium, MERSCOPE, CosMX in spatial-transcriptomics, and MACSima and PhenoCycler in multiplex imaging, hinders the generality of existing tools. We introduce Sopa (, a technology-invariant, memory-efficient pipeline with a unified visualizer for all image-based spatial omics. Built upon the universal SpatialData framework, Sopa optimizes tasks like segmentation, transcript/channel aggregation, annotation, and geometric/spatial analysis. Its output includes user-friendly web reports and visualizer files, as well as comprehensive data files for in-depth analysis. Overall, Sopa represents a significant step toward unifying spatial data analysis, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of cellular interactions and tissue organization in biological systems.