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For decades, histopathology with routine hematoxylin and eosin staining has been and remains the gold standard for reaching a morphologic diagnosis in tissue samples from humans and veterinary species. However, within the past decade, there has been exponential growth in advanced techniques for in situ tissue biomarker imaging that bridge the divide between anatomic and molecular pathology. It is now possible to simultaneously observe localization and expression magnitude of multiple protein, nucleic acid, and molecular targets in tissue sections and apply machine learning to synthesize vast, image-derived datasets. As these technologies become more sophisticated and widely available, a team-science approach involving subspecialists with medical, engineering, and physics backgrounds is critical to upholding quality and validity in studies generating these data. The purpose of this manuscript is to detail the scientific premise, tools and training, quality control, and data collection and analysis considerations needed for the most prominent advanced imaging technologies currently applied in tissue sections: immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, laser capture microdissection, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization imaging mass spectrometry, and spectroscopic/optical methods. We conclude with a brief overview of future directions for ex vivo and in vivo imaging techniques.
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