James Longstaffe

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Assistant Professor
Phone number: 
Room: ALEX 307


BSc   Department of Chemistry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
MSc  Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
PhD  Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NSERC Industrial Research and Development Fellowship, Geosyntec Consultants, Guelph, Ontario, Canada


My research focuses on the behaviour of chemical contaminants in the environment. Contamination of the environment with anthropogenic chemical agents is recognized as one of the leading factors contributing to global environmental change.  The complex relationships between the chemical, physical, and biological processes that occur in the heterogeneous mixture of air, water, soil, and biology in the near-surface environment plays an important role in governing the behaviour of contamination in the global environment, including their persistence, degradation, transport, and ecotoxicity.  A key part of my research involves developing applying novel analytical methods to provide new insight into the natural processes that remove or reduce the impact of environmental contamination.

My two primary research areas are: (i) developing a molecular-level understanding of the role that environmental matrices (soils, sediments, colloids, mineral surfaces, natural organic matter) play in governing the availability of contaminants for natural attenuation processes (sequestration, degradation, transport), and (ii) developing novel analytical tools and methods for the characterization of contaminated environments.

Meet Prof. James Longstaffe

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Prof. James Longstaffe, an assistant professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, studies the behaviour of chemical contaminants in the environment.

Check out James' 60 second snapshot video here.


Longstaffe, J.G.; Courtier-Murias, D.; Simpson, A.J. A nuclear magnetic resonance study of the dynamics of organofluorine interactions with a dissolved humic acid. Chemosphere, 2016. 145: 307-313.

Longstaffe, J.G.; Konzuk, J. NMR in the environmental industry. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 2015. 53: 691-693.

Courtier-Murias, D.; Farooq, H.; Longstaffe, J.G.; Kelleher, B.P.; Hart, K.M.; Simpson, M.J.; Simpson, A.J. Cross-polarization-single pulse/magic angle spinning (CPSP/MAS): A robust technique for routine soil analysis by solid-state NMR. Geoderma, 2014. 226-227: 405-414.

Simpson, A.J.; Courtier-Murias, D.; Longstaffe, J.G.; Masoom, H.; Soong, R.; Lam, L.; Sutrisno, A.; Farooq, H.; Simpson, M.J.; Maas, W.E.; Fey, M.; Andrew, B.; Struppe, J.; Hutchins, H.; Krishnamurthy, S.; Kumar, R.; Monette, M.; Stronks, H.J. Environmental Comprehensive Multiphase NMR. eMagRes, 2013, 2, 1-15.

Longstaffe, J. G.; Courtier-Murias, D.; Simpson, A. J. The pH-dependence of organofluorine binding domain preference in dissolved humic acid. Chemosphere, 2013, 90 (2), 270-275.

Longstaffe, J. G.; Courtier-Murias, D.; Soong, R.; Simpson, M .J.; Maas, W. E.; Fey, M.; Hutchins. H.; Krishnamurthy, S.; Struppe, J. O.; Alaee, M.; Kumar, R.; Monette, M.; Stronks, H.; Simpson, A. J. In-situ molecular-level elucidation of organofluorine binding sites in a whole peat soil. Environmental Science & Technology, 2012, 46 (19), 10508-10513.

Courtier-Murias, D.; Farooq, H.; Masoom, H.; Botana, A.; Soong R.; Longstaffe, J. G.; Simpson M. J.; Maas, W. E.; Fey M.; Andrews, B.; Struppe, J.; Hutchins, H.; Krishnamurthy S.; Kumar, R.; Monette, M. J.; Stronks, H. J.; Hume, A.; Simpson, A. J. Comprehensive multiphase NMR spectroscopy: basic experimental approaches to differentiate phases in heterogeneous samples. The Journal of Magnetic Resonance 2012, 217, 61-76.

Longstaffe, J. G.; Simpson, A. J. Understanding solution-state non-covalent interactions between xenobiotics and natural organic matter using 19F/1H heteronuclear saturation transfer difference NMR spectroscopy.  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2011, 30 (8), 1745–1753.

Longstaffe, J. G.; Maas, W.; Simpson, M. J.; and Simpson, A. J. Identifying components in soil humic acid that bind organofluorine contaminants using 1H{19F} reverse heteronuclear saturation transfer difference NMR spectroscopy.  Environmental Science and Technology 2010, 44 (14), 5476-5482.

Bajaj, A.; Khanna, A.; Chen, B.; Longstaffe, J. G.; Werner-Zwanziger, U.; Zwanziger, J. W.; Gómez, Y.; and González, F. Structural investigation of bismuth borate glasses and crystalline phases.  Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 2009, 355 (1), 45-53.

Longstaffe, J. G.; Werner-Zwanziger, U.; Schneider, J. F.; Nascimento, M. L. F.; Zanotto, E. D.; and Zwanziger, J. W. Intermediate-range order of alkali disilicate glasses and its relation to devitrification mechanism.  Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2008, 112 (15), 6151-6159.

Longstaffe, J. G.; Chen, B.; and Huang, Y. Characterization of the amorphous phases formed during the synthesis of microporous material AlPO4-5.  Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 2007, 98 (1-3), 21-28.


NSERC Industrial Research and Development Fellowship
ENC Student Travel Stipend
NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (Doctoral level)
Helen Sawyer Hogg Graduate Entrance Scholarship
NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship (Masters level)
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award
NB Patel Award
2004 Chemical Institute of Canada Book Prize

Research Area

environmental chemistry, natural organic matter, soil chemistry, soil contamination, groundwater contamination, environmental remediation, analytical instrumentation


Area of Research

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences