For the latest COVID-19 campus news and resources, visit

Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

The Joseph Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation Surpassed $60,000 in Research Fundraising for the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

The Joseph “Nuzzy” Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation added a $20,560 donation to their ongoing support of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE), raising their four-year total to $60,560.  The fourth annual “Nuzzy” Memorial Golf Tournament was held in September, followed by a “Rockin’ for Nuzzy” concert over the summer. 

Despite the pandemic, their fundraising efforts and annual donation once again surpassed the previous year.  In 2020, their 3rd annual golf tournament net $17,500, following a $12,500 donation in 2019 and $10,000 from their first event in 2018.


Joe Nozzolillo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just after his 10th birthday.  He had a wonderful relationship with his diabetes care team at the UMass DCOE, although he had a very difficult time keeping his blood sugars within a healthy target range.  Joe developed severe diabetic neuropathy and other health complications as a result of his diabetes.  He passed away at the tragically young age of 31. 

Joe (right) with his sister and brother

Over the past few years his family and friends visited the UMass DCOE research labs in Worcester to meet with scientists.  They've learned about the ongoing type 1 diabetes research at UMass Chan Medical School in conjunction with clinical studies taking place on campus at UMass Memorial’s Ambulatory Care Center, where Joe was a patient.

“We had no idea all this cutting-edge diabetes research was taking place in Worcester,” said Joe’s sister Leah during her first laboratory tour.  The money raised by the “Nuzzy” Memorial Foundation is directed towards type 1 diabetes research at the UMass DCOE.  “We knew my brother’s care team was excellent, but the more we learn about the research, the more hopeful we are that we’ll one day see a cure for type 1 diabetes!”

“We wanted the money raised by the golf tournament to stay local and help other people being treated for diabetes at UMass,” said Joseph’s brother Jonathan.  “We appreciate all they did for him.”

2019 check presentation by Joe's family & friends to DCOE co-directors
Dale Greiner, PhD (left) and David Harlan, MD (red sweater) 
Michael Brehm, PhD, giving Joe's family & friends a tour of the
UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence research laboratories in 2018

Michael Brehm, PhD
, who also lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D), showed them around the labs and explained some of the research taking place at UMass Medical School.  DCOE scientists have recently uncovered new insights into T1D development, and are also working on a unique approach to treat type 2 diabetes and its complications.  

“The average person doesn’t get to see how much incredible research is happening in our own backyard, working to put an end to diabetes,” added Jonathan.   

“We're grateful for this gift and per the family’s wishes, it will be put towards improving the lives of our patients living with diabetes,” said Dr. Harlan.  “It means a lot to us and is very much appreciated when patients donate to our diabetes care and/or research.”

joe nozzolillo



More Diabetes Center of Excellence News