Dr. Merkley is originally from Layton, Utah. His father is a family physician, and his mother is a nurse practitioner. He knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in microbiology, and attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, where he earned a joint MD/PhD degree. His PhD research focused on the molecular behavior of cancers of the mouth and throat. He completed his residency in Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) at the University of Rochester in New York.

Dr. Merkley became interested in ENT while working on his PhD. He was fascinated by the complex anatomic and physiologic relationships in the head and neck, but was really drawn to ENT by the opportunity to help with the pain and suffering caused by diseases in these areas.

In his spare time, Dr. Merkley enjoys skiing, camping, swimming, and hiking with his wife and four children.