Brandon was born (1976) in Golden Valley, Minnesota. In 1998 he received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. During his undergraduate years he worked in the laboratories of Professor Thomas R. Hoye.
In the fall of 1999 he entered the University of Texas at Austin and received his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Stephen F. Martin in 2004. His thesis work focused on the development of Rh(I)-catalyzed allylic alkylations and the application of rhodium-mediated cycloadditions and asymmetric cycloproplanations toward natural product synthesis.
In December of 2004 he began his position as a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Professor Barry M. Trost at Stanford University. During his time with Professor Trost he investigated a series of ruthenium- and palladium-catalyzed cross-couplings and cyclizations toward the synthesis of the marine macrolactone, miyakolide.
In the fall of 2007 he began his independent career as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Notre Dame.