She finished her Degree in Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH in Zurich Switzerland in 1998. She joined the group of Miguel Torres at the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB_CSIC, Madrid, Spain) for her PhD with a Marie Curie PhD fellowship to work on the molecular mechanisms specifying of upper, lower arm and handplate segments during vertebrate limb development. During that time she also got interested in understanding limb regeneration and pursued a project to unravel if developmental programs are repurposed during adult limb regrowth in the axolotl. In the frame of this project, she visited Elly’s Tanakas laboratory at MPI in Dresden, Germany.. In 2004, an EMBO long term fellowship allowed her to join the group of Carl Neumann at EMBL Heidelberg (Germany) with the aim of learning to handle the zebrafish animal model, as an organisms in with both developmental and regeneration related questions can be assessed simultaneously.
In 2007 she obtained a Ramon y Cajal contract and group leader position at Centro Nacional de Investigaciones cardiovasculares CNIC (Madrid, Spain). There she changed her research focus to cardiac development and regeneration. Nadia Mercader’s group showed that upon alterative types of injury that lead to tissue damage rather than tissue removal zebrafish can also regenerate the heart. Furthermore, their studies revealed that zebrafish hearts regenerate even in the presence of a scar. An ERC Starting Grant allowed them to pinpoint the origin and fate of the scar cells producing. In 2015 Nadia Mercader holds a professorship at University of Bern (Switzerland) and is visiting professor at CNIC, Madrid Spain. In 2018, Nadia Mercader has been awarded an ERC Consolidator grant to study the mechanisms underlying epigenetic inheritance of heart regeneration. Given that mammals can also regenerate their heart during a short window of their postnatal life, the studies of the Mercader lab using the zebrafish model are expected to be of high translational interest.