Tom is a food microbiologist, specialising in mathematical modelling and microbial ecology of foods and works at the Centre for Food Safety and Innovation at the University of Tasmania. The Centre is recognised for both academic and practical contributions to microbial food safety and food safety management. In addition to microbial ecology and physiology studies, the Centre has developed mathematical models and risk-based decision-support systems that are used in the food industry and by government to improve food safety and food preservation. Tom is active in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and training, and has supervised or co-supervised 25 PhD graduates, most of whom now work in academia, the food manufacturing industry or for government food safety organisations.
Tom has written >140 scientific papers and book chapters on the topic of modelling of microbial behaviour in foods, with particular emphasis on application of predictive microbiology and quantitative risk assessment in food safety management. He has been a member of numerous expert consultations on food safety risk assessment and risk management, convened by the Australian government and industry organisations and, internationally, by FAO and WHO. Tom often conducts, or contributes to, international training workshops on food safety management, risk assessment and statistical sampling schemes. He was appointed to permanent membership of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods in 2008, and to the International Commission for Food Microbiology and Hygiene in 2017.