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Dr. Kawas is now the Managing General Partner of Propel Bio Partners. She is the co-founder of Athira and a co-inventor of its lead drug candidate ATH-1017, and also invented several of the innovative drug candidates in Athira’s pipeline.

Dr. Kawas served as Athira’s chief executive officer and president, and as a member of its board of directors from January 2014-2021. In this role, she led the technological and financial growth of Athira, raising around $400M and taking the company through its public offering. According to Business Insider and GeekWire, Dr. Kawas was one of only 22 female founders and CEOs to lead their company to an IPO, as of February 2021, and was the first woman to guide a company through an IPO in Washington State in over 20 years (at the time of Athira’s IPO in September 2020).


Dr. Kawas serves on multiple boards, including the Life Science Washington Board, the Scientific Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and Alzheimer’s Association‘s Washington Chapter Board. She previously served as the co-chair of the International Alzheimer's Association Business Consortium and was on the Washington Governor’s Life Science Advisory Board. She is also part of the Springboard Network.

Dr. Kawas is a passionate supporter of scientist entrepreneurs, in particular, women. She enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures and cooking! Dr. Kawas and her husband live in Washington with their two children.


  • Managing General Partner, Propel Bio Partners LLC
    Nov 2021 - Present
    Propel Bio Partners ( is a global venture fund that is focused on life science investments. Propel Bio provides an entire ecosystem of experts to support entrepreneurs achieve their vision.


  • Member Board Of Directors, Persephone Biosciences
    Jul 2022 - Present
    Persephone is pioneering the use of synthetic biology for microbial products that impact patient and infant health. We are building an end-to-end platform to industrialize the development of engineered cells that restore health to damaged human ecosystems.


  • Member Board of Directors, Inherent Biosciences, Inc.
    Aug 2022 - Present
    Biotechnology company pioneering epigenetic medicine for complex diseases. Inherent epigenetic platform detects dysregulation across multiple genes and related pathways to pioneer a new category of diagnostics and therapeutics that leverage the biology's inherent mechanism for gene regulation, to radically transform how we diagnose and treat complex diseases.

  • Member, Forbes Business Council
    Sep 2022 - Present

  • Advisor-Seattle, Nucleate
    Aug 2022 - Present
    Nucleate is a student-led nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of biotech leaders. We streamline company formation so that founders can focus on translating cutting-edge science.

  • Member, Chief
    Apr 2022 - Present

  • Athira Pharma
    CEO & President, Jan 2014 - Oct 2021
    Vice President of Research, Aug 2011 - Jan 2014

  • Research Associate, Washington State University
    Jan 2013 - Feb 2015

  • Staff Pharmacist, Pharmacy1, Amman Jordan
    Jun 2008 - Aug 2008

  • Clinical Pharmacist, University of Jordan Hospital
    2007 - 2008

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