Tom was born in South Shields, in the North-East of England, in 1986. He read the Natural Sciences Tripos at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Chemistry and gaining a 1st class MSci (Hons) in 2008. Tom then switched to the Materials Science and Metallurgy Department to study the physical properties of porous hybrid frameworks under Professor Anthony Cheetham FRS.
A 3 year Research Fellowship at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge followed, looking at the utility of the structural collapse of hybrid frameworks and lecturing some of the 1B Materials Chemistry course at the department. He has been fortunate enough to receive the EPSRC post-doctoral prize (2012), the Panalytical award for an outstanding contribution to X-ray diffraction (2013), the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source Science Impact Award (2018), the Woldemar A. Weyl award for glass science (2019), the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Chemistry (2019) and the Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison Meldola Memorial Prize (2020).
He started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2016, along with a visiting adjunct professor position at The Wuhan University of Technology and a visiting scientist position at CSIRO Melbourne. He has spent research stays in both the University of Kyoto (hosted by Prof. Susumu Kitagawa and Prof. Satoshi Horike), and the University of Canterbury New Zealand (hosted by Prof. Paul Kruger). He is also Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Interest Group on Porous Materials and Vice-Chair of the International Zeolite Association Commission on MOFs.