My name is Dr Nick Ilott and I am a scientist at the University of Oxford. My work involves studying the community of bacteria that we all have living in our gut – the microbiome. Often when we think of bacteria we think of those that make us sick, but there are many more bacteria (including those that live in our gut) that help us stay healthy.

There is currently a huge amount of scientific research focused on how the bacteria that live in our bodies interact with each other and our immune system in both health and disease. I started Close Company in an attempt to enable complex concepts that emerge from this cutting-edge research to be accessible and engaging to both children and adults. This is done through a series of cartoons that feature microbial characters and the things they get up to in their everyday lives.

Why Close Company?

I felt that the name captured the close and intimate relationship we have with our microbes. They need us and we need them. We don’t always treat each other well but we are together, wherever we go.