James Longstaffe Guest SES Seminar Series

Date and Time


Graham Hall Room 2310


James is SES's newest faculty member.  "NMR as a tool to study molecular behaviour in contaminated environments."

Abstract A full understanding the fate and behaviour of small molecules in many environmental systems is a key requirement for the development and implementation of more efficient and effective practices for environmental management and remediation. Nevertheless, efforts to uncover this information is often restricted by the chemical and physical complexity inherent in natural systems. Approaches based on targeted analyses of environmental samples for known chemical parameters, or simplifications of the system through chemical or physical means often fail to provide a true picture of the parameters and processes that govern molecular behaviour in the environment, including natural attenuation, mobility, persistence, and apparent toxicity. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is arguably the most powerful analytical tool available to study chemical structures and behaviour in complex systems, however the application of NMR to improve our understanding of environmental problems is relatively underdeveloped. This talk will present new research aimed at developing practical applications of NMR to improve our understanding of the behaviour and extent of chemical contamination in environmental samples, including the used of Diffusion Ordered Spectroscopy (DOSY) to elucidate the composition of complex Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPL) and the use of multinuclear NMR methods to probe molecular interactions between contaminants and complex environmental matrices.


James Longstaffe is an environmental chemist with degrees in chemistry from The University of Western Ontario, materials chemistry from Dalhousie University, and Environmental chemistry from the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the development of novel analytical approaches to probe the behaviour and impact of small molecules in complex environmental systems, including soils, sediments, and groundwater. He joined the School of Environmental Science at the University of Guelph in June 2015. Before U of G, James held an industrial Research & Development Fellowship at Geosyntec Consultants (Guelph), where he focused on the development of novel methods to monitor the attenuation of chemical contaminant, including the development of practical applications of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for the environmental industry. James was born in Alberta, but grew up on the family farm in Middlesex County (Ontario). He currently lives in Fergus with his family, including a son and twin girls. He is an avid music fan, having been well acquainted with the piano since before he can remember.

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