John V. Headley

Senior Research Scientist - Priority Substances Exposure

Current research and/or projects

Develop knowledge on the distribution, fate and bioaccumulation of priority substances in order to provide policy- and decision-makers with information to make sound decisions on assessment and management of chemicals

  • Develop information on factors controlling phytoremediation of oil sands processed waters and sludge with emphasis on the reduction of green house gases
  • Examine the primary mechanism of removal of principal toxic components in natural wetlands, oil sands processed water, soils and associated vegetation, contaminated with naphthenic acids, process chemicals, gas condensates, heavy-oils and other hydrocarbon mixtures; and salts
  • Develop and apply mass spectrometry methods for determining uptake kinetics, and transformation of toxic substances in biota (e.g: wetland vegetation, biofilms, insects, aquatic invertebrates)
  • Develop and apply methods for determining the attenuation of pesticides, EDS and associated bio-molecules in aquatic ecosystems, with emphasis on oil-sands naphthenic acids, selected pharmaceuticals and cosmetics found in natural waters and Prairie biofilms
  • Assess the performance of catalytic photolysis/UVB irradiation for the degradation of toxic substances

Professional activities / interests

Associate Editor, Environmental Science and Health A

Visiting Fellow, University of Warwick, England, UK

Member of Canadian Society of Mass Spectrometry

Member of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry

Education and awards

2003 Recipient of Caledon Award in recognition of mass spectrometry of pesticides research and related topics.

2002 Canadian Society of Mass Spectrometry Good Fellow Award

B.Sc., Ph.D., University of Warwick, England, UK

Key publications

Headley, J.V., M. P. Barrow, K.M. Peru, and P.J. Derrick. 2007. Characterization of naphthenic acids from Athabasca oil sands using electrospray ionization: the significant influence of solvents. Analytical Chemistry. 79(16): 6222-6229.

Headley, J.V., P. Marsh, C.J. Akre, K.M Peru and L. Lesack. 2002. Origin of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in lake sediments of the Mackenzie Delta: Environmental Science and Health. A37(7):1159-1180.

Headley, J.V., K.M. Peru, J. Gandrass, J. Kubella and Y. Gong. 1998. Rates of sorption and partitioning of contaminants in river biofilm. Environmental Science and Technology 32: 3968-3973.

Cessna, A.J., D. B. Donald, J.Bailey, M. Waiser and J.V. Headley. 2006 Persistence of the Sulfonylurea Herbicides Thifensulfuron methyl, Ethametsulfuron methyl and Metsulfuron methyl in Farm Dugouts (ponds). Journal of Environmental Quality. 35: 2395-2401. .

Barrow, B., J.V. Headley, K.M. Peru and P. Derrick. 2004. Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry of principal components in oil sands naphthenic acids. J of Chromatography A .1058: 51-59.

Quagraine, E.K, H.G. Peterson and J.V. Headley. In Situ-Bioremediation of Naphthenic Acids Contaminated Tailing Pond Waters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region-Demonstrated Field studies and Plausible Options: A Review. Journal of Environmental Health A 40(3): 685-722.

Research facility

11 Innovation Blvd.
Saskatoon, SK S7N 3H5


Adjunct Professor, University of Saskatchewan, Dept of Civil and Geological Engineering

Adjunct Professor, University of Regina, Department of Environmental Systems Engineering

Associate Graduate Faculty, University of Guelph, Department of Environmental Biology