UV/ozone ashing of thin tissue sections and cell cultures is a simple technique to enhance relative elemental concentrations, while maintaining their spatial location at the sub-micron level. This approach may enhance the capability of spatially resolved analysis techniques to detect the distribution of trace elements in biological matrices. We present results from light microscopy and x-ray spectromicroscopy studies of tissues and cells demonstrating that the micro-structure is very well conserved. We show the signal enhancement resulting from the removal of carbon, which allows otherwise undetectable gadolinium to be mapped in cancer tissue for a novel neutron capture therapy.