Justin Jens grew up near Milwaukee, WI and attended the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse where he received a B.S. in Chemistry. He worked in two different labs while at UW-L, first working with analytical techniques to determine thermal stability of surface-bound DNA, and then using traditional organic techniques for natural product synthesis. After graduation he spent a short time as a cereal chemist for MillerCoors in Milwaukee, performing analysis of hop extracts as well as international brewery products. Justin returned to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in August 2014 as the Laboratory Manager for the Chemistry department. He joined the Phelan Lab at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado in September 2017.