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Our Team of Experts

Professor Tess van der Merwe MBChB (UP) FCP(SA) PhD (Wits) – Lead Clinician

HPCSA Number: 0260363
Practice Number: 18088370

Tess van der Merwe is an Honorary Professor and Researcher in the Department of Endocrinology, University of Pretoria. She is also the CEO of the 11 Centres for Metabolic Medicine and Surgery of South Africa (CEMMS)(SA).  She was the Honorary Secretary of the International Association for the Study of Obesity for a period of 8 years and currently remains the Africa consultant for this association. In addition, she is the Chair of the South African Society for Obesity Metabolism (SASSO) and has served this organisation for more than 25 years.

Professor van der Merwe established the CEMMS (SA) in 2005. She is also the Director of the Waterfall City Hospital Metabolic Medicine and Surgery Centre Research group and is a full time clinician at this hospital. Under her guidance, the Waterfalls City hospital was awarded international accreditation to perform metabolic surgery, in November 2011, and is the only hospital in SA that carries this honour to date. She received her MBChB from the University Pretoria, South Africa (1982) and was subsequently awarded an FCP (SA), before becoming a registered Endocrinologist and gaining her PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand.

She was appointed as Associate Professor of Endocrinology at the University of the Witwatersrand 2003 – 2006.  From 1989 – 1995, she spent a large percentage of time with Professor P. Lӧnnroth and other esteemed colleagues at the Sahlgrenska Hospital in Goteborg, acquainting herself with various research models in cellular and clinical obesity. She has received numerous research grants.  Professor van der Merwe has also received numerous ballet and cultural awards prior to studying medicine. She matriculated with seven distinctions, as the top student in Gauteng in 1976.  Currently her primary clinical commitment is in the field of bariatric and metabolic surgery for obese and diabetic patients. She has been invited to chair prestigious international lectures and symposiums, and been invited to do numerous research and keynote international lectures in her field of medicine. She currently serves on the Scientific Board of the International Federation for Surgical Obesity.

Professor van der Merwe has in excess of 110 publications in the field of obesity, metabolism and endocrinology, and has contributed to obesity study modules for the Foundation for Professional Development and IASO. In 2006 & 2010 she wrote a manual on obesity management guidelines for South Africa and currently serves on the editorial board of a number of international journals. In the past, key areas of research interest included investigating in vivo and in vitro adipose tissue lipolysis and relating these findings to intermediary metabolism, quantification of body composition and body fat distribution using computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scanning, obesity genetics and pharmaco-genetics.  She conducted a research portfolio in the clinical consequences and outcomes of bariatric surgery as well as MC4R polymorphisms in a South African obese population.


Current Positions

  • Director:  Centres of Excellence for Metabolic Medicine and Surgery (CEMMS)
  • Director:  Waterfall City Hospital Metabolic Medicine and Surgery Research Group
  • Endocrinologist: Waterfall City Hospital
  • Honorary Professor and Researcher, University of Pretoria, Dept. of Endocrinology
  • Consultant, Africa Region:  World Obesity and SCOPE
  • CEO: South African Society for Obesity and Metabolism (SASSO)
  • External consultancy on obesity and accreditation for Netcare Health Group



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