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From ISP 10th Grade Science to Leading Cancer Research in Scotland’s Biggest City

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Eva Freckmann (Class of 2010) displays key ISP values of curiosity, competency, compassion, and change-making through working towards completing her PhD in Cancer Science at the University of Glasgow and Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute.

Eva has embarked on something of a British Tour since leaving ISP, beginning at Exeter in the South West of England with several stops along the way, before making her way north to Scotland’s biggest city where she now lives – as does her youngest sister Ekavi (Class of 2013). Middle sister Sophie (Class of 2012) is the only Freckmann ISP graduate not living in Glasgow!

Eva explains her journey from Nebušice to her PhD in Cancer Research at the University of Glasgow and how ISP still lives with her over a decade after leaving. Eva looks back on how ISP helped shape her as a person. She tells the story about how an inspiring teacher at ISP, Mr Mobbs, helped start her teenage self, who was admittedly “fairly indifferent about science,” on the path to being an inspiring scientist doing potentially life-saving research. 

“Biology classes in 10th grade with Tony Mobbs were a pivotal moment in my education, and the primary reason I ended up going on to study Biology. While previously I had felt fairly indifferent about science, Mr Mobbs was a really engaging and inspiring teacher, and his enthusiasm for the subject was infectious. “

  • Where in the world are you and what are you doing?

I have lived in the UK since leaving home for university in 2010. In that time I lived in Exeter, High Wycombe, Sheffield, and Edinburgh, before ending up in Glasgow where I have spent the last four years. 

I am currently working towards completing my PhD in Cancer Science at the University of Glasgow and Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute. Populations of cancer cells have been observed to exhibit diverse behaviours (ie changes in shape, size, movement) when grown in the lab. It is believed that these different behaviours are linked to the ability of some cancers to grow and invade tissues, both locally and far from the initial tumour, and drug resistance. My project has been to develop a computational method for interrogating this diversity. The aim is to probe these behavioural intricacies, and determine how they respond to genetic manipulations or drug treatments.

Eva’s photo of the wild beauty of Buachaille Etive Mor from a recent trip on Scotland’s West Highland Way.
  • You were obviously at the school a long time – what are your earliest memories of being an ISP student? 

I think one of my earliest memories at ISP is from a new students’ welcome event, at which I remember meeting Thomas Schankler (Class of 2012) aka ‘Bubbles,’ and Julie Plantecoste, who have spent most of their schooling years at ISP. 

  • You completed the IB program at ISP – what did you take from the program to what you did when you left?

The IB program gave me the invaluable opportunity to experience multiple different subjects at an advanced level so that I could make an informed decision when the time came for me to decide what to study at university. More specifically to my field, the program enabled me to think critically about both my own work and that of others – an essential skill for robust scientific research.

  • Was there something or someone at ISP that stimulated your interest in the sciences? 

Biology classes in 10th grade with Tony Mobbs were a pivotal moment in my education, and the primary reason I ended up going on to study Biology. While previously I had felt fairly indifferent about science, Mr Mobbs was a really engaging and inspiring teacher, and his enthusiasm for the subject was infectious.

  • What are your favorite non-academic memories of ISP (other than the Freckmann family!) – do you keep in touch with old friends from the school?

I can’t think of any specific anecdotes off the top of my head, but some of my best memories are of times spent with my friends on Week Without Walls trips. Of course, I keep in touch with my family – my sisters Sophie and Ekavi, are from the classes of 2012 and 2013, respectively. I do, however, keep in touch with quite a few school friends – perhaps not as regularly as I would like, but social media makes it possible to stay in touch regardless of changes in address, phone number, or email!

The Freckmann sisters are back in Prague.
  • Future plans – what do you intend to do in the medium- to long-term future and what do you think you take from ISP for the rest of your life?

I expect to finish my PhD in 2022. My partner and I are currently going through the process of buying our first property here in Glasgow, so beyond next year, the plan is to see where research takes me in academia or industry in Scotland! One thing that will always stay with me, and that I owe to my international upbringing, is a keen interest in other people’s culture or background, and how that has shaped their lived experience.

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