• Spectral imaging;
  • Melanoma;
  • Gene analysis

Light-based imaging has extensive applications for medicine and biology, and recent advances in optical imaging modalities, such as confocal and multi-photon scanning fluorescence microscopy, bioluminescence, optical coherence tomography, and spectral imaging, have opened new avenues for visualizing and recording over time dynamic changes in genetic, developmental, and disease mechanisms that cannot be captured by conventional light microscopy. In the present article, we focus on spectral imaging, and using human melanoma and its precursor lesions as an example, we describe the ability of spectral imaging to detect early-stage disease, capture gene expression profiles in tissue specimens, and visualize gene functions in tumors growing in living animals.