Prior to joining the University of Helsinki in 2009, Mervi was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam School of Communications Research).

She gained an MA and Lic.phil. in Film and Television Studies at the University of Turku, where her research interests were Finnish media history and national film policy. She was awarded her PhD (Media and Communication Studies) at the University of Helsinki in 2001. She teaches at BA and MA levels and supervises PhDs.

Her research addresses the role the media play in the shaping of the dynamics of public life, and it has a particular emphasis on emotions, crisis, war and humanitarianism.