An unsolved challenge in the development of antigen-specific immunotherapies is determining the optimal antigens to target. Comprehension of antigen-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) binding is paramount toward achieving this goal. Here, we apply CASTELO, a combined machine learning-molecular dynamics (ML-MD) approach, to identify per-residue antigen binding contributions and then design novel antigens of increased MHC-II binding affinity for a type 1 diabetes-implicated system. We build upon a small-molecule lead optimization algorithm by training a convolutional variational autoencoder (CVAE) on MD trajectories of 48 different systems across four antigens and four HLA serotypes. We develop several new machine learning metrics including a structure-based anchor residue classification model as well as cluster comparison scores. ML-MD predictions agree well with experimental binding results and free energy perturbation-predicted binding affinities. Moreover, ML-MD metrics are independent of traditional MD stability metrics such as contact area and root-mean-square fluctuations (RMSF), which do not reflect binding affinity data. Our work supports the role of structure-based deep learning techniques in antigen-specific immunotherapy design.