Jonathan was born in Illinois and first became excited about chemistry in high school. After completing undergraduate studies in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he proceeded on to Pharmacia in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Following the acquisition of Pharmacia by Pfizer, Jonathan relocated to San Diego. Eventually, he returned to school, earning a doctorate in chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the laboratory of Professor Phil Baran. His doctoral research focused on developing new synthetic methods for the preparation of meroterpenoid natural products. Jonathan then joined the laboratory of Professor Kim Janda, where he focused on the development of vaccines for drugs of abuse. More recently, Jonathan worked in the medicinal chemistry department at the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr). He has been an ACS member since 2002.