Tissue microdissection is a laboratory method that is used to procure specific cells or cell populations from a histology slide under direct microscopic visualization. The recovered cells can be studied with a variety of DNA, messenger RNA, and protein analysis methods, including new high-throughput gene expression and proteomics technologies. This approach is permitting investigators to comprehensivelyexamine the molecular anatomy of cells in tissue sections forthe first time. This article reviews the development and evolution of tissue microdissection techniques, summarizes examples of research studies, and discusses related challenges that the research community must address. Additional information and complete laboratory protocols are available on a website at http://cgap-mf.nih.gov/.