Dr. Schalk van der Merwe is an associate professor of Medicine in the division of Liver, gallbladder en biliopancreatic diseases, Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium since 2011. Prior to this he held the position of associate professor in the department of Immunology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa where he headed the Hepatology and GI-research laboratory. Dr. Schalk obtained his medical degree, MBChB, from the University of Pretoria in 1991. He completed a recidency in Internal Medicine in 1997 and his fellowship in Gastroenterology in 2000. He obtained a PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2005. In the laboratory Dr. Schalk has focused on translational research in infectious disease and immunology related to the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. Dr. Schalk's areas of clinical interest include Bacterial translocation in cirrhosis, Role of macrophages in the development and propagation of cirrhosis, Complications of Chronic liver diseases and complications (variceal bleeding, hepatorenal syndrome, encephalopathy, hepatic osteodystrophy), Acute-on-chronic liver failure, Liver transplantation.