Engineered tissue represents a convenient path to providing models for imaging and disease progression. The use of
these models or phantoms is becoming increasingly prevalent. While structural characterization of these systems is well-documented,
a combination of biochemical and structural knowledge is often helpful. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)
spectroscopic imaging is a rapidly emerging technique that combines the molecular selectivity of spectroscopy with the
spatial specificity of optical microscopy. Here, we report on the application of FTIR spectroscopic for analysis of a
melanoma model in engineered skin. We first characterize the biochemical properties, consistency and spectral changes
in different layers of growing skin. Results provide simple indices for monitoring tissue consistency and reproducibility
as a function of time. Second, we introduce malignant melanocytes to simulate tumor formation and growth. Both
cellular changes associated with tumor formation and growth can be observed. FTIR images indicate holistic chemical
changes during the tumor growth, allowing for the development of automated pathology protocols. FTIR imaging being
non-destructive, further, samples remain entirely compatible with downstream tissue processing or staining. We
specifically examined the correlation of structural changes, molecular content and reproducibility of the model systems.
The development of analysis, integrating spectroscopy, imaging and computation will allow for quality control and
standardization of both the structural and biochemical properties of tissue phantoms.